Graced with esteemed speakers, the 2019 Mulat Mindanao Midyear Conference emphasized the role of the youth in the development of Mindanao with its theme: “The youth building Mindanao as storytellers and peacemakers.”
“We should not fall into the trap of thinking that we are too small,” University President Fr. Joel Tabora said, encouraging the youth to step up and make a difference for Mindanao.
According to him, “humanity and professional competence” is the key to becoming a sui generis leader.
He then challenged the delegates to “get real skills” needed in whatever field they prefer to function to do something for Mindanao.
Lumad history and identity
Amongst the issues tackled in the forum were the identity of the indigenous people and the historical injustices in Bangsamoro.
“Intindihin niyo muna kung ano ba yung identities ng Lumad, para alam niyo saan kayo pwedeng pumasok para maka tulong sa mga lumad,” AdDU Anthropology professor Cabayao, SJ said.
Cabayao asserted that solidarity that is not simplified is the key for everyone to be able to help the Lumad community individually.
“Iba’t ibang strategic identity ang ginagamit ng lumad that’s why to be in solidarity with the Lumad demands that our approach should also be diversified and strategized,” he added.
For AdDU professor Dr. Macario Tiu, the main struggles of the Mindanaoan in the past were centered on poverty, rebellion, and insurgency.
“Kayo young people, inyo ng sulbaron ang mga mali ug problema kay kabalo naman mo na naay historical roots ang atuang poverty situation. Naa pamoy chance na tukuron na sya,” he said.
Tiu ended with a challenge for the delegates — to confront and identify historical injustices.
Peacebuilding and development
While tackling different forms of injustices in Mindanao, Miss Irene Santiago, peace adviser to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, urged the youth to avoid exclusivity as much as possible.
In the concept of peacebuilding as a process, Santiago claimed that people tend to confuse peacebuilding and development.
“Akala kasi nila pag may development, meron ng peace. Hindi, paano kapag yung development mo eh yun pala yung gumawa ng conflict?” she said.
She then defined peacebuilding as “a process of increasing connectors and decreasing dividers so that sustainable and equitable development can occur.”
Governance and the MinDa
To further empower the youth in peacebuilding, former agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol Piñol introduced projects under Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) that promised to help local farmers and Mindanao as a whole.
One of these projects is Minda Tienda, which is set to market Mindanao local products, Mindanao rural water supply program—a solar water system that would provide for both drinking and irrigation.
For him, the implementation of the Rice Tarrification Law (RTL) brought added burden to local farmers.
“We cannot sacrifice our farmers just to please our consumers,” Piñol stated as he expressed his conviction against rice trade liberalization.
Mulat Mindanao is an annual two-day conference participated by student leaders to grasp better and understand Mindanaoan narratives.
The conference was held last November 29-30 at the Finster Auditorium.