By Tirmizy Abdullah, SOP 2010 alumni
One of the current projects of the Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in the Philippine Government is a radio program on peace in the cities of Marawi, Cotabato and Zamboanga. I formally started the radio program called “Suwara Kalilintad” (Voice of Peace) at 96.9 FM Radyo Natin Marawi. I am hosting the “Suwara Kalilintad” during Saturdays and Sundays from 4 to 5 PM. This radio program will run for four months from December 2015 to March 2016. I formally started the radio program last November 29.
OPAPP is dealing with peace negotiations between the different rebel groups in the country, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Communist Party of the Philippines – New Democratic Front. The Philippine Government and the MILF signed the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) as the result of 17 years of negotiations just last year. The CAB calls for the abolition of present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to be replaced by the Bangsamoro government. Also, part of the agreement is the drafting and passing of a proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law that will serve as the basic law of the Bangsamoro Government. The proposed BBL was supposed to be approved into law in 2014, however, it is still in the legislative branch of the government for interpellations. We are hoping that this will be passed into law this year end of 2015. It is expected that lawmakers will be busy with their political campaigns from January to April 2016 for May 2016 Election.
One of the fears, if the proposed BBL is not approved within this year and within the administration of President Noynoy Aquino (which will end in May 2016), is the generation of tense emotions and frustrations among the people in Muslim dominated areas in Southern Philippines that may result to violence, revival of armed conflict, and a rise of more violent rebel groups.
Given this possible scenario and in order to possibly avoid it, the OPAPP decided to start the radio program. Topics and issues related to peace are discussed, including Islam and peace, Moro culture and peace, peace education, etc. Guests appear on the show such as peace advocates, religious leaders, youth, students, and academics.
This is quite a challenging project for my part. I am not used to broadcasting for one, and also because we are now in a crucial stage since the passage of BBL is delayed and its passage is uncertain. However, I was able to design the curriculum, decide on the topics we address, and find guests to invite on the show. There is no dictation from the OPAPP or government. With this, I can integrate our perspectives from ICF and the knowledge that I got from School of Peace in 2010.
Hopefully in the future I can invite some of the SOP Philippine alumni as my guests on the show.