THE Young Moro Professionals Network (YMPN) Northern Mindanao convened to set programs for the holy month.

Officials from various sectors attended the gathering to discuss aspects affecting Moros and their Islamic faith. The highlights were Unity among Ummah, Tolerance, Education, Economic Development, Cultural Identity and even environmental concerns.

“Ramadhan is a holy month that should bring Muslims to rethink many of the global concerns that affect them,” said Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, YMPN’s founding co-convenor as well as a peace advocate. She said, “Islam is never backward. As a global faith, it is concerned with the welfare of mankind.” She said the organization of YMPN is rooted in Moro aspiration and spirit of Islam.

In the same manner, Dreza Lininding, YMPN Mindanao secretary-general, stated that some members of the organization are immigrants in other parts of the globe. In fact, their website was launched to reach out both local and international audience. He was also concerned of Mindanao’s socio-political stability. He revealed that almost every president of the Philippines declared war in Mindanao and P-Noy may not be an exception.

“Education is the solution to this problem,” according to a Turkish-Australian national Kerem (unknown affiliation). This was also agreed by another Turkish, Rizal Daikilic, president of Risale-i Nur Institute as executive director of Service for Peace. The latter quoted their institute’s educational programs across Mindanao.

Telecommunications Office (Telof) 10 director Dimnatang Radia advocated for education through creativity. He advised YMPN to work with the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Library Hub project and outreach program wherein “education resources are marketed to localities by consenting libraries.” Lanao del Sur is a recipient of these programs. Further, he said “we should take advantage of the rise of Information and Communication technology (ICT) as a tool for education.” He said he is disturbed at the poor literacy rate among Moros.

“Young Moros should chart their future intelligently,” Gutoc said. She noted another black eye against Lanao areas as kidnapping is now made into an industry.

Robert Maulanta Alonto of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) deactivated peace panel claimed that they “nearly agreed to struggle for a harmonious and peaceful life in Mindanao. This obligation is now upon the younger generation.” He said Moros should “preserve their identity or else they end up like tribal people `who dance in the street for the benefit of the tourists’ entertainment and Philippine fiestas.”

The gathering also discussed about Mindanao economic development. Rep. Ariel Hernandez discussed financial literacy for the poor, urging them to pool resources to make their non-government organizations (NGO) viable.

On the other hand, Rizal called on the national government to be sincere in addressing Mindanao’s economic development. He noted in the past that his team proposed a Turkish-sponsored hydro-electric power plant alongside Agus River. This was rejected by unnamed government officials in a congressional meeting because the government could not guarantee security for the sponsor. Malacanang was not optimistic at the time, he sees it.

Engr. Pipalawan Naga of Save Lake Lanao Movement (Salam) in his Power Point to be presented to the Ateneo School of Government on September, said Lake Lanao has tremendous impact on Mindanao at large and Moros in particular. He finds the frequent brownouts in Lanao ironic. While the Lanao Lake hosts the tributary of Agus River, it fails to impart enough electric supply to people living around the lake. He proposed the creation of an authority similar to Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to address the problem. He further insisted that environmental issues be among the YMPN’s agenda.

article from Gold Star Daily

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