Anti-Violent Extremism Drive Takes Off at Outreach Caravan

DAVAO ORIENTAL – An advocacy program touted to serve as a major offensive to “counter violent extremism” is being piloted here in the province.

Incorporated to the myriad of services and advocacy campaigns being offered by the province’s regular program Nagkakaisang Lingkod-Bayan ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Caravan, the advocacy program called “Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism” took off at the caravan’s latest venue at Barangay Bobon in the City of Mati on July 11.

The students of the Bobon National High School, who were the advocacy program’s first audience, positively responded saying that they will use what they have learned as leverage to shun extremist ideologies and radical influences.

In the wake of the recent violent attacks in some parts of the country, the Provincial Government now focuses mainly on prevention through education. The program currently targets the youth as the primary recipients of the campaign as they are the most vulnerable sector to radical influences due to peer pressure and the burgeoning social media.

The Provincial Government is also looking at expanding the campaign to other sectors such as the women sector, being recognized for their role in upholding values in the family; the Indigenous Peoples’ Community; and the Jama’ah (Muslim community in a barangay or sitio) as a strong institution with direct influence on its members.

The datu and imam, who lead the 122 Jama’ah all over the province, are considered among the key actors to propagate the campaign to their communities.

Datu Nestor Vicente, Sultan Allan Manuel, and Provincial Governor’s Office Chief of Staff Ednar G. Dayanghirang together with the staff of the Provincial Sultanate Office during the NLD Barangay Outreach Caravan in Barangay Bobon, City of Mati.

Overall Datu of the City of Mati, Nestor Vicente, lauded the campaign thrusting to end violence by addressing the root causes of violence which are twisted ideologies. The campaign also aims at breaking the notion of Muslims being associated with violence and extremism. He urged everyone to be vigilant by reporting to the authorities all suspicious elements lurking in their community.

TOWARDS LASTING PEACE

Promoting and pushing inclusive growth and development, the Provincial Government has incorporated to the Provincial Development Physical Framework Plan the Jama’ah Strategy for the Muslim community as well as the Ancestral Domain Strategy for the Indigenous Peoples’ Sector, which would mean implementation of more development programs and projects focused on these minority groups.

The NLD Barangay Outreach Caravan, which pools resources and services of all government agencies to be delivered down to communities, is part of these strategies.

The first-time participation of the Provincial Sultanate and Islamic Development Office on Tuesday’s outreach caravan was a welcome enhancement to the program as it provided needed services peculiar for the Muslim community. Among these services are processing of marriage certificate, baptismal certificate, conversion certificate, and tribal certificate.

Sultan Allan Manuel, who heads the Sultanate Office of the province, said he is happy to be part of the outreach caravan to offer services to the Muslim community of Bobon which consists of about 40 percent of the population.

“We are glad to be able to participate,” he said, lauding the government’s attention to the marginalized sector. He said he trusts that the community’s needs for more programs on health, infrastructure, and potable water, among others, can be readily be addressed through the consistent participation of all agencies and stakeholders. By Karen Lou Deloso

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