By Farida P. Dalandan
COTABATO City (September 23, 2013) —The Women Affairs Committee (WAC) of the United Youth for Peace and Development, Inc. (UNYPAD) participated in a Focus Group Discussion conducted by the Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao, Inc. (AFRIM) last September 19, 2013 at the Kadtuntaya Foundation Incorporated (KFI) Conference Hall.
“The output of this research will be used for policy advocacy,” said Hazel Lozada, AFRIM correspondent.
“One of the benefits that the Bangsamoro will gain from the Bangsamoro government in 2016 is that ‘the spirituality of the young people will be developed as there will be a system that will govern or control them; constructively impose system of discipline upon them,’” said Baisanie Macabuat, National Chairwoman of the WAC when asked about the possible benefits or impact of the Bangsamoro government on 2016.
“If there will be Bangsamoro government, it will not be hard anymore for most of the Bangsamoro people who go to malls that use comfort rooms because a “pail” for instance will already be available, Baisanie smilingly added.
“This is a very simple and basic need of the Bangsamoro but still not answered because the system is not culturally sensitive,” she explained.
Zairen Tagro, Health and Disaster Management staff of the Barangay RH-3, Cotabato City Chapter, said that if there will be Bangsamoro government in 2016, the Bangsamoro people will be happiest, and the Muslim students will already be allowed to wear veil in their schools.
Asked if Rido will be lessened if there will be Bangsamoro Government in 2016, Rahib Kudto, National President of the UNYPAD, said, “There is that great chance that Rido cases here in Mindanao, especially among the Bangsamoro, will be lessened if not totally stopped.”
“It always boils down to a question of how much political powers will be devolved to the Bangsamoro,” he added.
“If the Bangsamoro will be given enough political space to exercise political and fiscal autonomy over leadership and resources, I think these Ridos and other socio-economic and political problems can effectively be addressed,” he furthered.
When asked about electoral reform, he said, “The election system would probably be different, this will be party system. The people will vote for the party and not for a specific individual,” he stressed.
“Do you think that cheating in election will be lessened?” he was asked.
“It is a great challenge for the Bangsamoro,” he answered.
Mr Kudto was invited to sit with the group as the Women Affairs Committee is under his direct supervision.
“One of the challenges I see in the implementation of the Bangsamoro is the reaction of some present traditional political leaders who will not be involved as they may do some initiatives that will distract the implementation of what has been signed or will be signed,” said Fatima Sapalon, Chief on Sub-committee on Research and Information of the WAC.
“I am confident enough that it will have a good result if both panels will faithfully implement everything agreed and signed,” she answered when asked about how confident youth are that the Bangsamoro government will yield a good result.
Norin Kudto, National Secretary of WAC, said, “I also believe that other issues like drugs and Child trafficking will be lessened if there is Bangsamoro government.”
Rahib Kudto answered the question about the chance/s of the successful passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the congress saying that the chance is there is as peace is everybody’s concern.
“I believe that peace is the very concern of the people in the legislative bodies and other branches of the government, and their unifying factor is the national interest,” he pointed out.
“Advocacy and information drive about the would-be Bangsamoro Basic Law to Moro and Non-Moro communities, lobbying legislative bodies of the government, consultation to LGUs and capacity building are important activities that can be undertaken in which youth can be very instrumental,” he added.
The forum was attended by selected officers from WAC National, Provincial, and Barangay chapters.
AFRIM is a research and advocacy institution based in Davao City that is currently conducting an independent study on the perceptions, opinions and concerns of different stakeholders in Mindanao in relation to the proposed creation of the Bangsamoro government and the signed Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).