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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.


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

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