The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) launched its first social cohesion activity last January 10, 2021 at Raadz Place, General Santos City, participated by 28 key leaders of the Moro, Indigenous Peoples and Christian Settlers from different communities of the city. The activity is only opening salvo for a series of similar interventions to be undertaken in different parts of Mindanao.

The participants were led by no less than Fr. Angel Buenavides head of the Marbel Deocesan Center for Christians , Non-Islamized Indigenous Peoples by Bae Mercily Caytano and for the Moro by Rajahmuda sa Sugod a Buayan Datu Abdulhamid Ingkong.

In the process, the participants were apprised with a brief input on the importance of a social cohesion which is best captured in the activity theme “Social cohesion: Viable mechanism in restoring shattered relations in a post-conflict era.”

Anent the above, the resource person emphasized that: “although likened the incident to an earthquake lasted not only for decades but centuries where epicenter is in the Bangsamoro people, but its peripheral effect, the tremor and after-shocks were felt by every residents in Mindanao and even the whole of Philippines.” This is an analogy of the armed conflict and war in Mindanao for so long.

In effect, the matter had left the residents an ugly scars and wide gap in the relationships between ethnics, tribes and religious affiliations. More deeply, it also created “social cracks even in those same ethnics and beliefs.

In essence, without fixing the problem of social disintegrations, one cannot expect the full enjoyment of the gains of the peace processes between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Fronts such as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that aims among others “to establish an enduring peace” in the Bangsamoro. this goal is clearly stated in the Preamble of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) or RA 11054.

The highlights of the event include the identification of prevailing community problems and the participants recommendations on the alternative course of actions as solutions to the identified problems. The workshop follows the “Community Visioning Process”. The participants agreed to initially consolidate their output into a community vision statement before they discussed further the manner of pursuing and sustaining their alternatives. As a concrete interfaith action for peace the group agreed to plan for their intervention in the Polomolok series of killing incidences.

As a means of sustaining their initiatives for the various identified problems, they formed a group called “Interfaith Convener Group” but agreed to discuss further the final name of the group. This is to be discussed in a meeting planned out by the Convener Group set this January 20, 2021. The selected lead Convener were: Fr. Angel Buenavides as Led-Convener for Christians, Rajahamuda Datu Abduhamid Ingkong as Co-Led Convener for the Moro and Ms Mercily Caytano as Co-Led Convener for the IP.

By: Ustadz Ebrahim Sandigan

CBCS Area Coordinator for Rajahbuayan Cluster