August 23, 2021 (11:46 AM)

4 min read


Enlightening the youth about the significance of voting in the peacekeeping efforts of the Philippines, GoodGov Ph launched the Simulan Natin 2022 – Mindanao Convention: “Lantaw ‘Ta Mindanao: Sustaining the Gains of Peace in 2022 and Beyond” on August 21, via Zoom.

The main key speakers of the event were Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ., president of the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU), and Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, former chairperson and government peace panel with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). 

Voting ‘meaningfully’

In his speech revolving around Peace in Mindanao and the power to vote, Fr. Tabora began by recalling his past experiences with Martial Law and the governance present during that period, comparing it to today’s society.

He expounded that “social division and violence” was present in the country during Marcos’ era, where “division between the Muslims, the Lumads and the Christian leaders of Mindanao worsened”. 

Looking back on the ‘horrors’ of history, Fr. Tabora conveyed that those incidents were worth remembering, for we are “shaped by our memories,” and without memories, “we are shaped by dementia, unable to find our way home”.

He mentioned that each generation has its own strengths and sets of views that shaped the world people live in today.

Thus, contrasting the older generations who were afraid to be ‘different’, he described today’s generation as more open to “dialogue, diversity, and mutual understanding”.

“It was not easy in my generation to say, “I am gay” or “I am trans”. That’s different in your generation, it’s easier to say in your generation to say, “I am me.” and “You are you,” he stated.

Fr. Tabora revealed that the previous generations are learning from Generation Z. He urged them to use their “openness” in choosing the right leaders by thoroughly scrutinizing them and clarifying the line between autocracy and democracy.

In light of the 2022 elections, he encouraged the people to vote  ‘meaningfully’ by looking for the qualities that best fit the yearnings of the people in the name of sustainability and peace, and the country, in general.

“If you choose Democracy, look for candidates who respect human rights and freedom. If you choose preservation of the common home, look for people who are close to nature,” Fr. Tabora noted.

Status quo of women representation in peace processes

Starting off her discussion about the peace process and choosing the right leaders, Prof. Coronel-Ferrer indicated that although the representation of the contributions of women is progressing as years pass by, ‘masculinity’ still prevails, especially in peacekeeping efforts that are usually ‘male agendas’.

Her research showed that “between 1990 and the end of 2018, according to the Peace Agreements Database, only 353 of 1 789 agreements (19.7 percent), relating to more than 150 peace processes, included provisions addressing women, girls or gender.” 

Hence, she addressed how women are more likely to be “just in the background”, particularly in global phenomena such as armed conflicts, calling that their contributions deserve more visibility.

“Ang malaking challenge talaga ngayon in solving the war is to change how we are looking at this, to take away the masculinities that had supported the war, the perceptions that have supported the war, the culture that glorifies guns and violence and of course, the whole framework of state security,” Prof. Coronel-Ferrer told the viewers.

Meanwhile, she also opened that what the country needs right now is a government that “fully understands the nature of armed conflicts” and helps an administration “to be committed, [and] not rule based on fear,” thus emphasizing the role of checks and balances.

Engaging the youth in peacebuilding processes, she expressed how crucial it is for the youth to participate in deciding for the future of the country, for it influences them directly.

“Youth is heavily affected by armed conflicts, the challenge is [on] how to transform the demographic dividend to a peace transformative election dividend, especially in developing countries,” she remarked.

Conversely, round table discussions, spearheaded by experts from various sectors, also commenced, which tackled the agricultural, political, and societal affairs of the country.

Aiming to empower the youth, Simulan Natin 2021 is a series of webinars that encourages the youth to be more active in political occurrences throughout the electoral cycles.

End the silence of the gagged!

© 2024 Atenews

Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy