Archive | February, 2018

Dr. Bula

Message of IDPs of Marawi at the solidarity “Walk for Peace” in Marawi

Posted on 23 February 2018 by cbcs_mike

(This is the message delivered by Dr. Dalomabi Lao Bula in behalf of the Marawi Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the start of solidarity “Walk for Peace” sponsored by CBCS in coordination with the MSU Systems on February 19, 2018 and as part of the activity in the three-day “Bangsamoro CSO Leaders Summit” also held at the Marawi Resort of the said area.)

Dr. Bula

Bismillahir rahmanir rahiim.

Assalamo alaikom wa rahmatolahi wa barakatoho.

Greetings of peace. May all of us who are gathered today, with the help of Allah (swt) feel the real essence of peace and be able to internalize its meaning so that each one of us will love each other as brothers or sisters.
I am very grateful to Allah (swt) that I was given a very limited time to air few of the many mixed feelings of the IDPs, na kanilang kinikimkim sa kanilang mga puso, haunting them for almost nine months.

Tayo po ay nagtipon-tipon ngayon dahil sa kapayapaan at dahil dito, we are asking the powers that be, to give us IDPs peace of mind by giving us concrete, acceptable, culture sensitive and immediate solutions to our lamentations.

Ilang IDPs po, galing sa ‘ground zero’ ang naghihinagpis, because of the inhuman devastation of Marawi City, nang dahil sa air strike. There are thousands of us. We are still silently crying in pain, in the corners of others’ houses as bakwit in Iligan and CDO (Cagayan de Oro City). Paglabas namin, iba ang tingin nila sa amin, masasama kaming tao, di lang nakakatakot kundi terorista! We feel so degraded because even the hospitalization assistance ay pinutol mula nong Nov. 26 dahil wala nang budget ang DOH (Department of Health) para sa aming mga IDPs. Paano kami magkakaroon ng inner peace, saan kami kukuha ng hugot? Binabangongot kami ng Marawi Siege!

We read on the newspapers, see on TV screen, hear over the radio, not only millions but billions of money coming in for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi. Where are the billions spent? NFA rice, low-quality sardines, coffee and noodles? for 9 months?

Alhamdulillah! nakabalik na yung mga taga ‘cleared areas’ at patuloy na tumatanggap ng pinagsawaang sardinas. Pero kami sa ‘ground zero’, iniiyakan namin na makita man lang ang aming mga bahay at makuha kung mayroon pang natitirang gamit, ay ipinagkakait pa sa amin. But the irony of it, nauna pa ang outsiders makapasok kaysa sa amin, like investors, donors, politicians, showbiz people, and others – all in the name of business and money, ang sakit! It is safe for them to enter ‘ground zero’, but unsafe for the IDPs kasi mayroon pang mga posibling sumabog. What a glaring manifestation, to my mind, of discrimination, inequality and human rights violation.

The NEDA Comprehensive Plan for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi will be presented for consultation very soon. When the plan was planned, kasama po ba kami sa pagplano para sa aming mga IDPs? Makakapagsalita ba at pakikinggan kaming IDPs sa consultation? Magkano kaya kung mayron man ang assistance para sa winasak na mga kabahayan namin, na kasamang gumuho ang aming mga pangarap para sa kinabukasan ng aming mga anak? There is a plan for shelter to relocation sites, meaning, pinapaalis kami sa mga lupa na kinatatayuan ng aming mga bahay. What a pity!

The 400M budget for the military camp which had its ground breaking last Jan. 30 on a hill in Brgy. Kapantaran, is not at all a solution to violent extremism. The call of the hour now is for us, the IDPs or Bakwit, to be returned to our homes. Why not allocate those millions to our devastated dwellings, give us, and not loan, livelihood assistance and we will do the rest for our pagbangon, with the guidance of Allah (swt). Why does the government talk about land tittles, land use, and getting military reservations, when we lived in our lands since birth? Land titling can wait, let the IDPs go back and rebuild their shuttered dreams and settle whatever obligations they have to the government, later. Bakit sa katagal-tagal ng panahon ngayon lang ito hinalungkat? It is untimely and inhuman! Public structures ang uunahin. Who will make use of those structures kung walang tao? Our wounds are still fresh and bleeding. Give us justice and equal treatment with the so-called majority and peace will reign through out the land, In Sha Allah. Hindi namin ginusto ang Marawi Siege. Hindi makatao ang pagpapasabog sa aming mga kabahayan. The use of 500 and 200 pounder bombs ay masyadong nakakapagtaka! Ang pagka flatten ng 24 barangays ay pinipilit kong intindihin, kung bakit? What made the bombs necessary?

How can we have peace of mind with all of those unanswered questions? Peace does not only mean the absence of conflict or armed struggle. Each one of us should feel peace within so that peace will radiate outside us.

Sa mga LGUs (local government units) po namin, you abandoned us during the Siege, specifically sa first few weeks. Wala kayong nagawa para di kami lumikas, para di namin iwan ang aming mga kabahayan. Wala kaming narinig na kahit ano pa man. We had no one to run to sa kasagsagan ng Siege. But look at MSU, we salute Pres. Macaayong for a job well-done. Agad-agad nakapagplano sila. Na mobilize ni Pres. Macaayong ang mga tauhan niya. They talked with the students, faculty and staff, and the residents, not to leave the campus. Naki pag-coordinate siya sa military, the MSU officials were visible, talking with everyone in the campus. Hindi nila pinabayaan o iniwan ang kanilang constituents, kaya ito, balik sa normal ang MSU. We talk about peace and the BBL Bangsamoro Basic Law) kasi andito pa ang MSU. Bakit di yon nagawa sa down town Marawi para hindi naging war zone?

Sa Congress at Senate, napag-usapan at pinag-uusapan yong mga biktima ng drugs, o napapatay dahil sa drugs. Ang Marawi Siege ba, na nabugbug ng human rights violation ay naipaabot ninyo sa Congress at Senate? Wala kaming naging boses at masandalan. Kawawang Meranaw!
Hindi tayo nagsisisihan, binabalikan lang ang mga pangyayari para tayo ay maka pulot ng lessons na siyang maging daan para magkaroon ng kapayapaan, In Shaa Allah.

I speak for the IDPs, who are Muslims, whose religion is Islam which means peace. We detest being associated with terrorist for we will never be terrorists because we are peace-loving lake-dwellers.
Let me end with this very short poem which I was able to compose sa kasagsagan ng Siege.

MERANAW AKO
Meranaw ako
Ingarang ko a Ranaw.
So Ranaw a rangkamanis,
A piyagiyasaano Allah (swt)
Sa pimbarang a pageper.
Ranaw a paramanis o inged,
A lama lama o Meranaw.
Dii isusungowa, dii itutukawa,
Dii pagalataan, dii kuyakuyaan
O dalem o pagilidan.
Meranaw ako.
Pimbiat ko maratabat ko inged go bangensa,
Kambilangataw go kambayorantang ko Allah,
Tindeg ko agama nago rugo,
A da sangkop ko ridoay.
Meranaw ako.
Pagalongan ko kalilintad go kambilangataw,
Rawaten ko pimbarang a ilmo.
Saken so Meranaw sa Ranaw
A kena o ba terorista.
Meranaw ako.
Ingoma ka kalombayan,
A panginam o Meranaw,
Di ipangonot so kabinasa
O paninggalan a inged.

CBCS Secretariat

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Position Paper presented during the House of Representative Public Hearing on BBLin Cotabato City

Posted on 18 February 2018 by cbcs_mike

February 15, 2018

Bismillahi Rahmanir Raheem! Good afternoon to the honorable Congressmen and congresswomen, Local government officials, my brothers and sisters, Colleagues in the CSOs.AssalamuAlaikum W.W.

Thank you very much your honors for this opportunity given to us in the civil society organizations to share our position regarding the Basic Law for the Bangamoro now being opened to public consultations.

We in the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), a network of Bangsamoro-led NGOs and People’s Organizations in Mindanao had been accompanying the peace process from its inception up to this point in time. We are living witnesses to the ugly faces of war and violence. Many of us are victims of the unending violence in our midst. We became permanent IDPs in urban areas like Cotabato City. In this war, the civilians are the most vulnerable groups and have been made conveniently the “collateral damage”. We are in the forefront of civilian protection work. It has been our goal to help find peace and end violence.

We are also witnesses to several peace agreements that did not work, nor implemented or did not meet the expectations of the people. Let me quote a statement from an OPPAP official, “….we seemed to have been successful in establishing an entity (ARMM) but its substance leaves much to be desired. We failed on equipping it with the essential powers to fulfill its long-running quest for self-determination and unlock its promise in heralding a new hope for development of its people to finally catch up and place at the forefront of nation building”.

We are convinced your honors that the BTC-drafted BBL now in congress will fill this gap.

The BTC-drafted BBL embodies the concrete expression of self-determination of the Bangsamoro; a right that is acknowledged by international conventions and is guaranteed by our Constitution. Unfortunately, the Bangsamoro has been deprived of this right for centuries.

The BTC-drafted BBL is the result of protracted peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). As such, it presents a golden opportunity to build the needed structures in society that promote lasting peace and unity, healing and reconciliation, and eventually conflict transformation; thereby catalyzing development in the Bangsamoro core and adjacent areas.

Such peace-promoting structures include guarantees and mechanisms to respect cultural and religious diversity in the Bangsamoro, thus ensuring the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and of the settler communities as well. In this way, social cohesion and harmony will prevail among the culturally diverse communities therein.

It is our strong conviction that the establishment of the Bangsamoro government is more of an opportunity than a problem for both the Bangsamoro people and the Philippine state.

The BTC-drafted BBL acknowledges the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippine state, but at the same time provides for more pragmatic and judicious and stronger autonomous arrangements between the Central or National Government and the Bangsamoro.

Most important of all, the BTC-drafted BBL addresses legitimate grievances against the Bangsamoro and historical injustices committed against them by both colonial and past Philippine government administrations.

Your honors, the dragging violence in the Bangsamoro is taking a new form and its toll not only to the residents of Bangsamoro but the entire country as well. While we agree that militarization of the Bangsamoro can only serve a temporary relief, we also believe that this will not strategically solve the violence.. Terrorism and counter-terrorism are two sides of the same coin. They are both destructive. The violence and the counter violence destroyed Marawi City It is only a peace negotiation and political agreements that can peacefully and strategically end this violence thus the BTC-drafted BBL.

We believe that the BTC-drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law – the legal document emanating from the 1987 Constitution is founded on the objective of correcting historical injustice and aimed at institutionalizing and embedding the policy of social justices and the promotion of human rights and development in the envisioned Bangsamoro homeland.

It is filled with mechanism that aimed to correct historical injustices against the Bangsamoro, including the IPs.

The BTC-drafted BBL provides high assurance that it recognizes the rights of Indigenous people and shall adopt measures for the promotion and protection of their rights, their right to native titles, indigenous customs and tradition, justice system and political structures, the right to an equitable share in revenues from utilization of resources in their ancestral lands, the rights to political participation in the Bangsamoro government and the right to basic services.

The Bangsamoro Government to provide, maintain and ensures the delivery of basic and responsive health programs, quality education, appropriates services, livelihood opportunities, affordable and progressive housing projects, power and electricity and water supply to the Bangsamoro people and other inhabitants in the Bangsamoro.

While we believe your honors that the BTC-drafted BBL is not a panacea that can solve every problem in the Bangsamorowe also believe that it can significantly contribute in ending the violence that has been dragging for decades if not for centuries. A violencethat has its historical roots.

Allow me your honors to quote the result of the study conducted by the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) which was established by the GPH and MILF panel to conduct a study on the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro, Historical injustices committed against them, Human rights violations and Marginalization through land dispossession as part of the normalization process.

“…. The legitimate grievances, historical injustice, human rights violations, and marginalization through land dispossession are the consequences of three mutually reinforcing phenomena:
1. Systemic violence by the State expressed in terms of political, socio-economic, and cultural exclusion and in the disproportionate use of direct violence;
2. A pervasive culture of impunity that undermines the practice of the rule of law;
3. Deep neglect by the State combined with the lack of vision for the common good.

The report further said, “these phenomena have their root cause in the imposition of a monolithic Filipino identity and Philippine State by force on multiple ethnic groups in Mindanao and Sulu that saw themselves as already pre-existing nations and nation-states. The attempt to integrate these diverse groups into a unitary Philippine nation-state has been met with different forms of resistance that continue to this day.

The convergence of these three phenomena has not only had a profoundly negative impact on the people of the Bangsamoro, both historically and currently; it has also affected the ability of the Philippines to address other pressing political and socio- economic issues”.

The promotion of cultural diversity and the grant of self-governance through peace, equality and rule of law is the anti-thesis of imposition of a monolithic identity through violence, impunity and violence. The BTC-drafted embodies this ideal of respecting and promoting cultural diversity and self-determination.

.….”the TJRC believes that the Mindanao peace process, its peace agreements and their proper implementation represent a unique opportunity for the entire nation to address the enforced monolithic model through active respect, practice and promotion of the diversity of the peoples, including other indigenous peoples in the Philippines. This includes tackling the need for proper legal frameworks to promote the recognition of minority rights, their implementation, institutional practices and education.

For the Bangsamoro people, through the passage of the BTC- crafted BBL and in the case of indigenous peoples, through further strengthening the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). The right to self-determination can enrich the whole nation in its practice of democracy; acknowledging and protecting this right is a gain for the Philippines.
Let me add your honor.

To ensure that the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, including the indigenous people, such as historical injustices, human rights violation, marginalization through unjust dispossession of their territorial and propriety rights and customary land tenure, are heard and addressed, Section 3 of Article IX mandates the creation of a transitional justice mechanism while section 7 of the same Article provides for the creation of the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission which shall be responsible in ensuring the protection and promotion of the human rights of all Bangsamoro inhabitants.

The BBL is not only an instrument to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro and to correct the historical injustices that happened in the past. In order to be able to move forward as a nation, we have to look back and resolve the past. Hence, the BTC-drafted BBL holds the key to our nation’s past and it also opens us another door towards a just, peaceful, inclusive and united country that is shared and collectively built by the strength and diversity of its people, from Luzon to Mindanao.

Having said that your honors, let me appeal to you to give the BTC-drafted BBL a chance, a chance that can change the political landscape not only of the Bangsamoro but the entire country as well.

In the final analysis , we strongly believe that the Bangsamoro within the Philippine state is not a problem but an opportunity for peace.
Thank you your honors. Peace be with you.

Guiamel M Alim,
Chairperson CBCS

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STATEMENT OF APPEAL FOR BBL

Posted on 08 February 2018 by cbcs_mike

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We are a group of Youth of Poblacion 7, Cotabato City who struggle to avoid being victimized by drug proliferation or lured by the rising extremisms in our midst especially the youth.

Related to the above, we are doing our level best to divert our attention through engaging into sports and other valuable works. However, we can never tell how long we can withstand this test, if this long lingering armed conflict surrounding us is not stopped the soonest.

So we are pinning our last hope in the passing into law of the BTC drafted BBL now being espoused by Honoorable Senator Jose Miguel Zubiri under Senate Bill 1646.

Finally. WE appeal for:

1. Senator Jose Miguel Zubiri and his colleagues in the House of Senate to stand with BTC drafted BBL to honour the gains of more than four decades of negotiation between the Government and the Bangsamoro Fronts.

2. Consider the significant and values of HB 1646 as certified by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as “Urgent Bill”. Our apprehension is that the flow seems runs as ordinary bill and we fear that time will run out just as what happened to the old BBL under 16th Congress.

3. For the House of Senate to make SB1646 as their legacy to the long suffering of Bangsamoro especially to the youth who are “the hope of the fatherland” as one Filipino hero once said.

We sincerely thanked you Senator Miguel Zubiri for championing the BTC drafted BBL, may God guide and Bless you.
Signed this 24th day of January 2018 at Poblacion 7, Cotabaot City.

ORIGINAL COPY SIGNED BY:
1. Rajib A. Kulat
2. Roseman A. Ismael
3. Nehanie A. Matanog
4. Raissah Queen A. Kulat
5. Basher G. Bernan
6. Leyster A. Kulat
7. Noryasin Aser A. Matanog
8. Brayan R. Tula
9. Abdawi W. Dopo Jr.
10. Yhong A. Matanog
11. Abdul Maula M. Pendong
12. Raina Icawalo
13. Salama Glang Mastura
14. Aljayn Ajeg
15. Anwar B. Sionga
16. Ebrahim Paguital
17. Abdul Nasser Silongan
18. AL-Basher K. Odin
19. Mohammed Tayaan
20. Marham A. Kulat
21. Arafi S. Arab
22. Jabar M. Alimanan
23. Alladi Zailon

By CBCS Secretariat

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INETRFAITH ASSEMBLY FOR BBL – PRESSCON.1jpg

ZAMPEN INTERFAITH GROUP CONDUCTED PRESSCONFERENCE ON THE PASSAGE OF THE NEW BBL

Posted on 07 February 2018 by cbcs_mike

INETRFAITH ASSEMBLY FOR BBL - PRESSCON.1jpg

At least three leaders of the sponsoring organizations of the Interfaith Peace Assembly were gathered together with eight (8) media people from RMN-DXPR, CNN Philippines, Net 25, ITVN-8,City Press Bureau and Pagadian GMA-News for a Press Conference held at the office of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos(NCMF) on December 10, 2017. Mr. Ferrer Marcaban, of CBCS also joined the activity. The Press Conference was facilitated by Ms. Leah Agonoy of the Pagadian City Press Bureau. It formally started with an opening statements of the panelist, Sultan Maguid Mruhom, the Interfaith Convener, Kiram Cayda the BM-PUSH Convener and Ust. Nuroddin Mantolino, the President, Union of Youth Organization in Zamboanga Peninsula. They greeted everyone and expressed their gratitudefor realizing this Press Conference. They said that “we had just successfully conducted an Interfaith Peace Assembly in Support of the Passage of the New BBL, held in Rotonda, Pagadian this morning, from 8:00 – 12: 00“. The different speakers expressed their support for the passage of the new BBL. It was followed by an open forum.

The media entity representatives’ questions were ranging from: Differences between the old and new Bangsamaoro Basic Law (BBL), assurance from President Duterte’s passing of BBL and what will happen if Federalism comes first?

The resource persons responded correspondingly, implying that the major differences is that the new BBL is more comprehensive since major stakeholders in the new Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) is expanded to include representations of the MNLF Jikiri-Sema wing, the Indigenous Peoples, the Christian Settlers and others.

It is also a convergence of both the old BBL and the major provisions of the MNLF 1996 Final Peace agreement.

On the president’s effort for the passing of BBL into law, there are numerous statements he expressed in every major occasion on the importance of passing the BBL as means of “correcting historical injustices” committed against the Bangsamoro People. In fact, Datu Kiram Cayda head of BM-PUSH for Zamboanga Peninsula stressed that: “the president certified the BBL as ‘Urgent Bill’ in Congress”.

Dealing on the notion of federalism comes first before BBL, Sultan Maguid Marohom expalained, that basing of the Roadmap for Peace and Development of Duterte Administration there are two tracks or pathways. “These are (1) Track I – Legislative Track which is now being followed by BBL and (2) Track II – Federalism Track, which will start by completing the 25 member Consultative Committee as envisioned by the President under Executive Order No.10. But these have not started yet, since Congress is proposing a “Constituent Assembly” and the opposition is advancing a “Constitutional Convention”. Any of the three that will be agreed will be tasked to draft a proposed Federal Constitution. But Sultan Maguid stressed that: “anyway BBL and federalism are both flagship program of the president and there is no complication.”

Ustadz Nuroddin Mantolino, speaking in behalf the youth of Zamboanga Peninsula and responding to the assurance of peace once BBL is passed into law, quipped: “No one can assure peace except God, However, BBL is the best option to peace. For one it is product of more than four decades of problem solving peace negotiations between the Bangsamoro fronts and the governments of the Philippines.”

After more questions and answers, the Press Conference was ended with a closing statement of the panelists: Sultan Maguid Maruhom, Kiram Cayda and Ust. Nuroddin Mantolino.

By: MOHAIYA S. PUA
CBCS, Area Coordinator for
Zamboanga Peninsula

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FORUM FOR PEACE AND PVE GENSAN

CBCS conducted forum on peace and violent extremism in Gensan

Posted on 07 February 2018 by cbcs_mike

General Santos City. January 30, 2018. The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), in partnership with the Muslim Student Association of Ramon Magsaysay Memorial College (MSA-RMMC), conducted yesterday a forum titled “Promoting Peace and Preventing Violent Extremism in the Bangsamoro: Conversation with Students”. Mr. Moammar Amal, MSA president, assisted CBCS in the logistics preparation and in the overall conduct of the forum.

FORUM FOR PEACE AND PVE GENSAN

Seventy one (71) students from various colleges and universities here in General Santos City participated in the forum. Majority of them (51) came from RMMC. The rest came from MSU (11), three (3) from STI, three (3) from Buayan NHS (3) and one (1) from Golden State College.
The forum speaker, retired Prof. Rufa C. Guiam, is a former professor at the Mindanao State University here in General Santos City. In addition to her university functions, Prof. Guiam has also written and published several articles, and delivered lectures in several international conferences.

Prof. Guiam spoke on two major topics: “The roots, “drivers” (push or pull), and strategies for addressing violent extremism” and “Salient features of the BBL and on Federalism”. She started her talk by testing the knowledge of the student participants on the concept of terrorism. One answer from a student participant caught the attention of the speaker: “Terrorism is a crime committed by a Muslim.”

Having noticed the students’ lack of basic knowledge about terrorism, the speaker decided to clarify and elaborate on the basic concepts of radicalization, violent extremism, and terrorism. She said radicalization is the process by which individuals are introduced to an overtly ideological message and belief system that encourages movement from moderate, mainstream beliefs towards extreme views. But she emphasized that radicalism should not be equated with terrorism, and that people who hold radical views do not necessarily become terrorists or violent extremist.

On the other hand, violent extremism is viewed as “encouraging, condoning, justifying, or supporting the commission of a violent act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social, or economic goals”.

According to the UN Statement on the Plan of Action against Terrorism, terrorism has four common elements as follows: a) threat or use of violence; b) political objective, i.e. the desire to change the status quo; c) intention to spread fear by committing spectacular public acts (could be heinous or just bluffing actions), and d) intention to target civilians.

The speaker emphasized that terrorists are made, not born. She said there are factors that drive individuals, either pulling or pushing them to violent extremism. She enumerated seven socio-political conditions that may drive individuals into violent extremism, as follows:
1. Denial of basic political rights and civil liberties
2. Harsh and brutal rule that entails gross violations of human rights
3. Widespread corruption and perceived immunity for well-connected elites
4. Poorly governed, weak and failing states, ungoverned areas
5. Protracted violent conflicts
6. Presence of repressive regimes widely perceived as illegitimate or bankrupt; absence of strong and legal opposition
7. Provision of previous support to VE movements by governments that once relied on those movements to serve their short term political or strategic interests.

In addressing the phenomenon of violent extremism, Prof. Guiam said the Unite Nations (UN) has identified the following areas where action/activities designed to address the issue of peace and violent extremism could be undertaken:
1. Dialogue and Conflict Prevention
2. Strengthening Good Governance, Human Rights and the Rule of Law
3. Engaging Communities
4. Empowering Youth
5. Gender Equality and Empowering Women
6. Education, Skills Development and Employment Facilitation
7. Strategic Communications, the Internet and Social Media

In her second talk, Prof. Guiam discussed briefly the salient features of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as well as on a comparison between Federalism and Unitary System.

By Ebs Sandigan
SOCSKSARGEN Area Coordinator
CBCS

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