MANILA - An aspiring lawmaker from Mindanao hopes to be the voice of the country's restive south in the Senate, bringing to the national table the issues of peace in her homeland.
Maranao civic society leader Samira Gutoc-Tomawis said decades-old conflicts, which displaced a lot of Moros, indigenous peoples, and Christians alike, are no longer problems confined in Mindanao.
Among the signs of this, she explained, is the number of Muslims from Mindanao migrating to major urban centers like Davao, Manila, and even Baguio City.
"Why did they get here in Davao or Manila or in Baguio, itong mga so-called conflict victims. Ito ay dahil sa hindi nga tayo nagkakaroon ng programa for them," she told ANC.
Tomawis stressed that peace in Mindanao is "definitely a national agenda" not only because it is eating up the national budget, but because the people affected are Filipinos too.
"Importante yung karahasan be addressed and transitional justice mechanisms have to be redressed for the people out there to say na Filipino din kami din naman kami biktima palagi," she said.
Aside from peace building measures and a Madaris law, Tomawis said she will also push for oversight mechanisms on the Marawi rehabilitation, which has been delayed.
She also said she supports the call of her fellow Maranaos to let them go back home in Marawi, stressing that their displacement as a result of delays in the rehab process is a human rights violation.
Tomawis, an opposition bet, was a former member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. She resigned from the body to protest President Rodrigo Duterte's martial law and rape joke.