The local governments of the Municipality of Dumalinao and City of Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur and Army’s 53rd Infantry “MATAPAT” Battalion (53IB), held Peace Building Forum and Islamic Symposium on October 3-4, 2020.
The Muslim communities in Barangay Banale, Pagadian City and Barangay Mama in the Municipality of Dumalinao became the venues for the said peace forum.
The Peace Forum and Islamic Symposium is the step undertaken by the Army and the LGUs through the engagement of vulnerable communities to prevent and counter violent extremism.
The Guest lecturer, Vice President for Administration and Finance in Cotabato City State Polytechnic College Professor Teng A. Alim, taught about Jihad which means “struggle” or “striving,” contrary to what the mainstream people perceive as ‘holy war.’
The Army and LGUs in unison agreed that the solution to peace is not through terrorism or taking up arms, but rather through proper communication and understanding.
Issues and concerns in the communities also aroused such as the lack of Muslim cemeteries in Pagadian City, and the lack of a Barangay Hall and Port in the coastal barangay of Mama in Dumalinao.
53rd IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said in his message that the Peace Building Forum and Islamic Symposium is a huge step in addressing the said concerns.
“Through proper communication and understanding, we are not just one step into solving our concerns, but also one step closer into preventing and countering violent extremism,” said Lt. Col. Herrera.
Women-in-Uniform of 53rd IB also wore hijab to show their respect to our Muslim brothers and sisters during the said Peace Building Forum and Islamic Symposium.