Road Trip for Peace and Interreligious Dialogue

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014


IT WAS rainy afternoon when we left Cagayan de Oro City last April 14, 2014 (Monday). Two black vehicles, a pick up and a Nissan Xtrail traversed the CDO - Iligan route, were our ride for this road trip for peace and interreligious dialogue. Our main objective was to visit Marawi City and Maguindanao madaris who are members of the National Association of Bangsamoro Education, Inc. (NABEI)

We arrived at Iligan City at around pass 4:00 in afternoon. We went straight to Mindanao State University Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU IIT) and had courtesy call with Chancellor Sukarno Tanggol. He gladly welcomed us and gave a short tour of the campus.

We first visited the building of the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), my college. I am a proud alumnus of this university. It was almost 5:00 in the afternoon, most offices were closed. We only had a chance to visit the History Department.

The History department of MSU IIT is the only history class that offers History of Muslim Filipinos/Moros in Mindanao. This subject teaches the every college student about the history of Mindanao and the series of significant events in Mindanao that partly explains the roots of the Mindanao problem. We were fortunate to have Prof. Kamlian to entertain us together with the History department chair.

After visiting CASS, we went to the Institute of Peace and Development of Mindanao (IPDM). This is the peace building institute of MSU IIT.

This is the peace building institute of MSUIIT. Their program officer gave a short orientation about their office. The highlight of our visit in the IPDM was learning about the challenges of peace building activity in Iligan and Lanao Norte. Their staff told us about the challenges they encountered during the MOA AD last 2008, and the biases and prejudices of both the Christians and the Muslims.

The following day, we left Iligan City at around 8:00 in the morning. On our way to Marawi City, my friend noticed the different tarpulins and streamers of Maranaw men and women announcing their accomplishments in passing the bar exams, CPA exams, and all sorts of academic accomplishments. Their were also tarps announcing the enthronement of different sultans and bae a labi of Lanao del Sur. My friend suggested that this can be an interesting topic for anthropology. It seems that culturally, honor, prestige and rank among the Maranaws are very important. Through education, Maranaws can change their status and rank in their society.

When we arrived at Marawi, it was not the same place that I visited twenty years ago. The weather was not the same. The cool breeze and fog were not there anymore. The ambiance of being the summer capital of ARMM was not there anymore.

The next places we visited were amazing. This I will discuss in my next article.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 17, 2014.

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