ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - In an effort to raise public awareness on Bangsamoro consciousness and identity, the Young Moro Professional Network – Western Mindanao will spearhead the celebration of the Bangsamoro Peace Week with a series of activities which will run from March 18-25 in Zamboanga City.
Anchored on the theme “Revisiting Our Past, Forging Our Future,” the weeklong peace celebration aims to commemorate – in a more positive note – the infamous "Jabidah massacre".
Jabidah massacre is considered one of the tragic incidents in Bangsamoro history where dozens of Moro recruits training in Corregidor Island were massacred by government forces in 1968. The incident is considered a “turning point” of the Bangsamoro struggle in Mindanao.
“We celebrate this Bangsamoro Peace Week because we want to commemorate and acknowledge the great sacrifices of our forefathers who fought their lives for our identity,” said YMPN-Western Mindanao Vice-Chairman Dr. Titina Loong.
This peace celebration, she added, “will remind us to continue what they have started, not violently, but in all peaceful ways we could.”
Amir Mawallil, the chairperson of the group, said several activities were lined up to commemorate the event. The weeklong celebration, he said, will commence with a simultaneous Friday prayer.
The group will lead the opening of a photo exhibit dubbed “Bangsa” at the Gallery of the Peninsula and the Archipelago in Ateneo de Zamboanga University on Saturday. The exhibit is open to public and will run until March 25.
In the afternoon, a peace forum will be held at the Auditorium of the College of Law of Western Mindanao State University. Topics on Bangsamoro issues will be discussed by prominent speakers to include Prof. Esnaen Catong of Western Mindanao State University; Atty. Edilwasif Baddiri, Commissioner of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos; and Moro journalist and peace advocate Samira Gutoc.
Gutoc, one of the founders of YMPN, said “this Bangsamoro Week, we honor the brave women, men and children who died defending Moro homeland.”
“More importantly, we honor the future by dedicating our work and efforts in building the blocks of our former civilization into reality by raising the ante on the unpublicized talent, industry and technology of our people. Moro contribution is our pride, everyone’s pride,” she added.
YMPN-Western Mindanao, the lead organizer of the event, is the local chapter of the Young Moro Professional Network (YMPN), a duly registered organization of young Muslim professionals in the country. YMPN-Western Mindanao members are from Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte, and also from the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. The Bangsamoro Peace Week is also commemorated in other regions across the country. (Nuhman Aljani)