Moro youth urge gov't: Go beyond military response to heal Marawi


Posted at Sep 19 2017 02:55 PM

MANILA - Moro youth leaders believe that it takes more than a military solution to restore peace in Marawi as the crisis in lakeside city continues to drag on for nearly 4 months. 

Speaking to ANC Tuesday, Nina Bahjin, a Tausug, and Sahara Mama, an Iranun, said the government should also look at the socio-economical and political aspects of the conflict.

"Hindi maso-solve 'yung conflict ng military response lang. Hindi 
lang military, hindi lang security [ang issue] e. Nandiyan ang socio-economic and political aspect," said Mama.

Both Bahjin and Mama are project officers of International Alert Philippines, a non-profit organization involved in peace-building activities. 

Bahjin said even the business sector can participate in peace-building efforts in Mindanao by giving Moros more livelihood opportunities and by doing something about discrimination against Muslims.

The two Moro youth leaders said they have been hearing and experiencing discrimination first-hand on a daily basis since the conflict in Marawi erupted. 

Some of their peers, they said, had to change their Muslim names when applying for jobs, afraid that they will be rejected because of their faith.

"Sinasabi namin na the business sector should also be sensitive to the Muslim culture. Kailangan nila gumawa ng efforts para i-welcome Muslims. Give them equal opportunities," said Bahjin.

The months-long war in Marawi has forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave their hometown, which has been reduced into a city of ruins, riddled by bullets and shrapnel. 

The military on Monday said the end of the long fighting in the Islamic city is near as they continue to pursue the remaining Maute forces in the main battle area.