Philippine Marines Commences Community Relations Training

By Yusoph S. Lumambas 

COTABATO City (March 20, 2014) — the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) in partnership with the Cotabato City Coalition for Change (4C’s) commenced the 10-day Community Relation Training (CRT) Program held at the STI, Cotabato City. 

“The purposes of the training are to discuss and learn the culture and traditions of the different tribes of the Bangsamoro people, and also to discuss the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) for the participants to effectively work in advocating for lasting peace in their communities”, said facilitator.

In his acknowledgment and welcome remarks, MBLT Battalion Commander Col Juan shared the objectives of the CRT program.

“We should learn deeply the culture of the Bangsamoro because I believe that other cause of the conflict here is the misunderstanding of the cultures and traditions of other and we should also learn the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) so that we can help advocate for it”, he said.

Honorable Vice Mayor Abdullah Andang of Cotabato City was the Guest of honor in the opening part of the program. He laudably acknowledged the initiative of the MBLT and the 4C’s.

Andang recalled his past experiences during martial law of then President Ferdinand Marcos, saying that CRT is not a new one.

“I was one of the trainees on Community Relation before but it did not work because the army and rebels were still fighting”, he opined.

“…but this training is very timing because there is a FAB signed by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), he clarified.

He strongly asked people of Cotabato City to join and support the Bangsamoro Government as he  believes that there is no victor in war but all are losers.

In his input about the role of AFP in Peace building, Col Arthur Biyo of the MBLT discussed the co-ownership and co-creation model of Asian institute of Management (AIM) which has been considered as a big help to them in promoting peace and development initiatives.

“There is a paradigm shift program of the AFP – from warriors to peace advocates; it must win the peace  rather than defeat the enemy”, he disclosed.

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Professor Raby Angkal of Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC) gave an input on Bangsamoro History – its culture and traditions. He clearly differentiated the permissible and forbidden culture and traditions of the Bangsamoro people as well the culture and traditions of non–Islamized Bangsamoro.

“My aim for this lecture is to enlighten you about the cultures and traditions of the different tribes of the Bangsamoro in order to avoid discrimination and stereotyping attitude”, Angkal stressed.

“We believe that respecting the culture and traditions of each and every one of us is a big help in attaining lasting peace here in Mindanao”, he pointed out.

According to the facilitator, there will be several lectures will be given in coming days, which include the FAB, Conflict Management and Resolutions, Community Relations, and Stakeholder’s Analysis, among others.

“The culminating activity will be a 3- day community emersion, facilitator said”.

The said activity has been implemented by MBLT in partnership with the 4C’s with support from the The Asia Foundation (TAF).