IS PEACE just the absence of conflict, or does it demand to be created?
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
We have come at a most opportune time for the Bangsamoro.
The successful completion of the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite, in which we have all pegged our hopes for sustainable peace in our neighborhoods, is only the beginning.
Although our notions of how we go about building a new region may differ, there is always common ground.
With that, I ask myself and everyone present here: is peace simply the absence of war, or is it something we create?
And, in attaining this peace, what can this mean for our people?
As a BTC commissioner, I have seen and listened to the people on the ground.
I have had experience in the localities, from the plebiscite and even before that, and there is a need to empower and to capacitate people there. There is a lot of work ahead of us, and we must rise to the challenge.
How does this relate to culture?
With the BARMM (not ARMM), one of the things we want to take note of is the three things that humanity looks for; identity, purpose, and sense of belonging.
All of these things are tied closely to our culture and traditions, things that are taught to us as children and become anchors of our own selves.
So again, I ask: is peace just the absence of conflict, or does it demand to be created?
One of the strongest ways that we can create a culture of peace is in the four walls of the classroom.
One hallmark of that is the madrasa educational system. Islamic in nature and in deed, the madrasa system is also a way for the Bangsamoro to be taught in the ways of our people and as our prophet (SAW) instructs us to be.
These values should include recognizing the beauty in each of our individual cultural backgrounds.
In our office at Al Qalam, where I am one of the founding directors, we are a microcosm of the Bangsamoro and beyond.
We come from different tribes and religions there. And yet, we work together as a family. We are able to do that because of the culture of peace that guides us.
If we are able to create this in our office, within the Ateneo (Catholic, Jesuit, Filipino university), then we can do so in our homes and in our classrooms.
It is like building a house; one needs a strong foundation. We want the BARMM to stand the test of time, and this can only be done if we invest in a culture of peace that starts in our madrasas and in our homes.
It is our duty as academicians, as teachers, to build that foundation alongside our children.The Bangsamoro needs culturally resilient, forward-thinking, moral and hardworking people in it.
This is why we must work hard to create the peace that we want. We want our students, our children, to grow up in a culture where it is not only normal to embrace and learn from different cultures, but to find strength in this diversity.
It is my hope that this training will instill in us the importance of what we are doing; that we recognize the impact of meaningful dialogue, values, and instruction.
Let us create the peace we need, and want, for the Bangsamoro in the years to come.