Mohagher Iqbal MILF Peace Implementing Panel (left) delivered his inspirational message and Sheikh Mahmod Ahmad, BLMI Executive Director delivered his opening message. Photo by: BLMI staff

BLMI-ICSP Scholars host thanks-giving ‘kanduli’

COTABATO CITY - Fourteen (14) Scholars of In-Country Scholarship Program (ICSP-2) of Australian Aid (PAHRODF) hosted a ‘Thanks-giving Kanduli (feast)’ at Muassasah Building, Bubong Road, Cotabato City on June 26, a day after the Eidl Fitr Congregational Prayers that were held in various areas throughout the country.

These scholars were recommended by the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute, the capacity and competency training agency of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front created by the GPH-MILF Peace Process.  

These Bangsamoro Scholars are currently enrolled in different prestigious educational institutions in Davao City, Manila, and Cotabato City and are taking up master’s degree in different fields of knowledge including peace and development, business administration, community health, and human resource. 

The ‘kanduli’ was inspired by its theme "Study for a good cause: enhancing every Bangsamoro youth potential on peace building to have resilient Bangsamoro homeland." 

It was also graced by three Bangsamoro leaders who delivered motivational speeches to boost the scholars’ dedication towards building a better Bangsamoro in the future. 

Sheikh Mahmod Ahmad, BLMI Executive Director delivered his opening message and reminded the scholars of their great role for the future of the Bangsamoro. 

"When you finish your studies, do not forget the Bangsamoro," he said firmly as he emphasized the high impact that these scholars could bring to the betterment of Bangsamoro. 

It was also a fortunate day for the Bangsamoro Scholars as they were able to hear inspirational message by no other than the Chairman of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel Mohagher Iqbal who reminded them of the significance of education and their roles as youth towards peace building. 

He narrated some of his experiences and told the scholars how lucky they are for being awarded with the ‘ICSP 2’ through the recommendations of BLMI, which is a manifestation that they are fortunate enough for already enjoying the fruits of the Peace Process. He further encouraged them to nurture the gifts of talents that they have and utilize them in serving for Islam and the Bangsamoro. 

Iqbal also stressed out that youth are the leaders of tomorrow who will continue the Bangsamoro Struggle that they are now about to hand over. Iqbal had also been generous in answering the Scholars' inquiries especially pertaining to the newly crafted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). 

A question was asked as to what is the difference between the previously submitted BBL and the newly crafted one which will be submitted to Office of the President (OP)? 

The chairman said that in substance, there are only some enhancements and improvements made in the new one which included some revisions on the provisions in wealth sharing, additional provinces and cities that will have option to be included in the Bangsamoro territory, and creation of Office for Migrant Settlers. 

The newly crafted BBL was initially scheduled to be submitted on June 28, 2017 but was moved for its final submission on July 12, 2017. The Chairman was also asked about the role of the MILF in response to the current crisis happening in Marawi City. Iqbal answered that the MILF extends its humanitarian assistance to the people of Marawi City through the creation of GPH-MILF Peace Corridor under the initiative of both the Peace Implementing Panels. This Peace Corridor creates means to enable effective retrieval operation of trapped civilians inside the war zone and also to have smooth passage of relief assistance for the victims. 

Moreover, Engr. Zubair Guiaman, Secretariat Member and representative of MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (MILF-CCCH) to the said event delivered his message and gave updates on the on-going efforts of the MILF in providing humanitarian assistance for Marawi Siege victims through the GPH-MILF Peace Corridor spearheaded by the CCCH that saved lives of many trapped civilians inside the war zone in Marawi City. 

“We must have to sacrifice our personal interests over the interests and welfare of many people”, he said to the Bangsamoro scholars.

“With your different professions and talents, you can contribute a lot to the struggle,” Guiaman pointed out.

Sarato Pasante, one of the scholars who took up Master of Arts in Peace and Development, expressed his sincere gratitude to the BLMI and PAHRODF for granting him the scholarship under the ICSP 2 program. 

“On behalf of the scholars, I thanked Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) for receiving this great gift, also to the BLMI for being the recommending agency, and of course to the AusAid -PAHRODF for giving this opportunity. 

The scholars culminated the program by having meals together which symbolized their heartfelt gratitude and as an extension of Eid Al-Fitr celebration.