The municipal governments of Tukuran and Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur and the Army’s 53rd Infantry “MATAPAT” Battalion conducted a 2-day Peace Building Forum and Islamic Symposium on September 27-28, 2020 in Barangay Lower Bayao, Tukuran and Barangay Old Labangan, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.
Through the Peace Building Forum and Islamic Symposium, the 53rd IB intends to engage the Muslim communities in its Area of operations to have better convergence, collaboration, and battle violent extremism altogether.
On the first day of the forum, Tukuran mayor Hon. Macario Tingson said this is a great opportunity to talk to our Muslim brothers and sisters as they are seldom engaged in the communities.
Also, Labangan mayor Hon. Eduardo Relacion on the second day said that they are honored to have hosted the peace forum, further saying that they have long waited for this to happen.
In his statement, Zamboanga del Sur governor Hon. Victor Yu thanked all involved stakeholders for the conduct of such peace forum.
“We should be thankful to the President Duterte for giving us such opportunity to conduct this kind of activity — to our partners specially to the AFP and PNP who play a big role on maintaining the peace in our area here in Zamboanga Del Sur,” said Gov. Yu.
Meanwhile, 53rd IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said religious symposiums are necessary for unity.
“This kind of activity is needed to unite our Muslim brothers and sisters, to end radicalization of the Islamic culture, and to prevent events like the Marawi Crisis,” said Lt. Col. Herrera.
Guest lecturers were also invited — Professor Teng A Alim, the Vice President for Administration and Finance in Cotabato City State Polytechnic College, taught about Jihad which means “struggle” or “striving,” contrary to what the mainstream people perceive as ‘holy war.’
Uztads Ismael M Ibrahim, the Vice Chairman for DA’WAH & Masjid Affairs, Bandar Kutawato, taught about the Pillars of Islam.