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NGOs, DILG confer with Marawi allies to curb violent extremism

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)--Intending to cut loose from the threats of violence and its drastic impacts, the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) in partnership with the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has organized a dialogue with the internally displaced persons (IDPs) here to thoroughly tackle mechanisms to forbid violent extremism from emerging. 

Marawi IDPs, Sultan Abdul Hamidullah Atar of the Reconciliation Initiatives for Development Opportunities (RIDO), Inc. represented his faction during the convention.

Here, he heartened the public to stand against zealotry, and finally have a grip of harmony.

Atar also looked forward to the government treating the civil society organizations and traditional and religious leaders not only as participants in any peace intervention, but also as comrades in pursuit of peace and development. 

“At the end of the day, we serve as leaders in our communities. Thus, civil society organizations and traditional and religious leaders are also key partners for peace and development. We believe that conflicts in this world are not only due to bad people but also because of the silence of good people,” he said. 

Apart from delving into strategies to end violent extremism, the dialogue further aimed at giving a chance to the participants to freely voice their current situation six years after the urban warfare in the Islamic city and directly address their issues and concerns to the government and partner organizations. 

Isagani Abunda of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) saw this as an initiative that would intensify their effort to attain an encompassing Bangsamoro region. 

He stated that this complemented their advocacy on achieving transitional justice and conflict transformation and addressing the general demand of IDPs, which is their voluntary return to the most affected area (MAA). 

“This [activity] is anchored on our overall goal of establishing an inclusive and democratic BARMM. At the end of the day, the IDPs are just calling for kambalingan. They want to go back to Marawi City,” said Isagani.

Isagani Abunda of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) says the dialogue conducted by development organizations and a government office supports their goal of attaining a better Bangsamoro region. (RCG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

Moreover, Janidah Pangadapun of the Reclaiming Marawi Movement (RMM) was able to introduce her group, which, according to her, is an IDP-centered organization that strives for the immediate, safe, and dignified return of displaced residents of Marawi City.

She firmly iterated that it would always be their aspiration to let society know of the injustices and accountability of concerned officials. 

“Reclaiming Marawi Movement strongly believes that the Marawi land and our future and identity are what we want and will reclaim,” said Pangadapun. 

Summing up, the event satisfied the objectives of the host institutions.

GCERF Executive Director Dr. Khalid Koser was happy that from this gathering, they were able to resonate significant points, such as the recognition of the participants as their essential partners in pushing for their aim of resolving the addressed concerns of the Marawi IDPs.

DILG Undersecretary for Plans, Public Affairs, and Communication Lawyer Margarita Gutierrez likewise guaranteed that her office would stand beside the Marawi IDPs. 

She explained that although there are matters that are not under their jurisdiction, this would not mean that they would not help. 

“We will collaborate with other government agencies, including LGUs and legislative bodies, to seek resolution to land conflicts. It is not just legal. It is also cultural,” said Gutierrez. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

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Claire Gigje

Information Officer I

Region 10

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