In a desire to increase community-based leaders who will uphold conflict transformation through dialogues and peaceful means, a 5-day training on culture of peace for Marawi and Lanao community leaders and volunteers was conducted at Harold Hotel, Cebu city.
The training aimed to “equip or enhance participants’ skills and knowledge on conflict resolution necessary in realizing a community that adheres on peaceful conflict resolution and become ‘culture of peace’ advocates,” explained Norhanah Talib- Balindong, project coordinator of Maradeca Inc.
The seminar elucidated “key concepts of conflict; arts of conflict resolutions in local context; theoretical and practical strategies in building culture of peace; and, identification of conflict per area with its corresponding possible resolutions,” Balindong explained.
The workshops tackled issues on land and boundary conflict, election-related violence, family issues which escalated into feud, sports and recreational conflict, and conflict in the access of government programs and social services assistance.
Part of session on culture of peace was identification of community’s roles and their strategies in conflict transformation, which include the exhaustion of their customary and traditional laws and mechanisms in addressing issues.
They also underwent a session to appreciate personal differences, pluralism of thoughts, diversity of culture, dissimilarities of political ideals, and appreciation of unique experiences.
There were 50 community leaders and volunteers who participated in this seminar and another 20 attendees from Maradeca Inc., Balay Rehabilitation, Save the Children, and Plan International.
Community leaders were officials of barangay Tarik of Buadipuso; barangays Bago-ingud and Guinaopan of Ditsa-an Ramain; barangays Abaga and Poblacion of Balindong in Lanao del Sur; as well as barangays Dayawan and Pindolonan of Marawi City.
“Conflict should be prevented to become a trap that may escalate into violence, anger, and hatred which may suppress persons’ sense of logic and rationality or may destroy the society altogether. This is classic in the emergence of violent extremism, like what happened in Marawi,” Balindong added.
“The laymen may understand conflict as disagreement between people over opinion, ideas, or perception and in the broader sense of interest may characterize competition where parties are trying to outmaneuver the others in the pursuit of power and resources. This is however natural in an evolving society and sociologists appreciate the positive contribution of conflict in discovering new ideas that are indispensable to the development and progress of the society,” explained Dr. Moctar Matuan, researcher and one of the resource persons of the seminar.
Moctar explained the cultural and sociological dynamics and context of variegated forms of conflict and its alternate remedy via culture of peace.
“Conflict undermine sustainable economic and social development initiatives and often could deny conflicting parties of the opportunity to participate in the economic endeavors and isolate them because of fear for retaliation, as in the case of rido, and the consequential effects of feud,” Moctar said.
“As a result, there are those forced to engage in illegal activities, kidnap for ransom, gun running, and drugs peddling, as the only alternative left for them to earn money the fastest way. Others migrated to other region to live at least a semblance of peace,” Matuan pointed.
This seminar was inspired by Pathways for Integrated and Inclusive-Sensitive Protection and Education for Children in Mindanao (iCOPE), a project supported by Plan International.
Participants also highlighted Maranao cultural dances in its solidarity night.
The seminar was held on March 6-10, 2019.