Youth are very instrumental for peace, and development- EU delegates

COTABATO City – During their visit to Cotabato City on January 31, European Union (EU) delegates who met with the youth sector said that the “youth are very instrumental for peace, and development.”

Their visit was purposely to get direct information on what the sectors’ opinion on issues of challenges and opportunities in the peace process in Mindanao.

“We identified you knowing that the youth are the large segment of the society, and also you are emerging leaders that are very instrumental for peace and development,” said Ms. Helen Steruf of the policy office of the EU.

“But in a critical side, you are also vulnerable on the possible recruitment of the violent extremist group,” she said.

The EU-Youth Sector meeting was facilitated by the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) headed by its President Dr Rahib L. Kudto held at the organization’s office in Purok Pinnen, Rosales Street. 

Among of the EU delegation were Mr. Xavier Canton, Project Manager, EU Manila, Mr. Peter Hazara, Project Manager – EU Bangkok, Mr. Jerome Rivere, Mr. Jun Rousdy Rosing, Policy Officer, Mr. Marco Mezzera, Senior Adviser, and Mr. Javier Prieto, Security Adviser – EU Manila.

On the question of how to prevent violent extremism, Kudto replied that UNYPAD has to strengthen its organizing activities to engage the youth sector proactively.  He also stressed the important role of the youth in advocating the peace process. 

“In fact, we have an on-going intervention with international organizations like The Asia Foundation (TAF), and Conciliation Resources (CR) for preventing violent extremism, and promoting the gains of the peace process”, Kudto disclosed.

The EU delegates were curious on the future of the peace process considering the fact that it has been facing several challenges, both systemic problem, and uncertain issues like the rise of radical ideology.

Mr. Morsidin Husain, President of the Young Advocates for Peace and Development Network (YAPDN) explained that President Rodrigo Duterte has been unpredictable since he assumed office in 2016.

 “However, on the positive side, he has been consistent, and firm in his statement that he will address the historical injustices against the Bangsamoro people,” Husain said.

“Duterte has demonstrated political will, and decisive leadership. The burial of the former President Marcos, and the war on drugs and terrorism faced various criticisms, and opposition from local and international community but he remained firm, and consistent in his campaign promises,” Husain said further.

During the meeting, the representative of the United Youth of the Philippines- Women (UNYPHIL-Women) appealed to the EU delegates to continue their interventions in Mindanao. 

A vast groups of Moro youth are optimistic that peaceful resolution of the Bangsamoro problem will be achieved in the near future despite some hurdles, and challenges. 

The youth are also confident that once Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) is installed, the Bangsamoro leaders are capable enough in running an effective, and efficient BTA, and the future Bangsamoro overnment.