The 2011 Silsilah Special Course was on the theme “The Mindanao Conflict: Multiple Perspectives of the Problem and the Need for a Common Articulation of the Solution” | June 1, 2011 |

The 2011 Silsilah Special Course was on the theme “The Mindanao Conflict: Multiple Perspectives of the Problem and

the Need for a Common Articulation of the Solution” held on May 23-28, 2011 This theme was chosen for a number of reasons, three of which are 1) the continuing conflict deepens the divide between Mindanao groups and makes peace more difficult to achieve 2) Mindanao is multicultural and 3) there is need to consider the perspectives of different cultural groups in forging a genuine peace agreement.

Early presentations contextualized the topics that came later in the course. Ms. Aminda Saño gave talks on “Culture of Dialogue and Personal/Social Transformation” and “Resolving Conflicts through Active-Harmony Approach”. Prof. Rudy Rodil, well known academic with many years of engagement in the peace process, presented the paper on the “History of the Peace Process in Mindanao” and a second paper “Statehood and Nationhood – Where the Philippines and Mindanao Are”. Dr. Ofelia Durante gave the participants the findings of the research and consultations on the peace process which had been conducted by Konsult Mindanaw and Dialogue Mindanao in 2010.

With these as background the participants were better able to engage themselves in the ideas and opinions presented in two panel presentations. The first panel was on the sub-theme: “What the Indigenous People, the Muslims and the Government wish to happen in Mindanao in the light of history, conflict and the peace process”. Presentors of these topics were Prof. Rudy Rodil for the Lumad perspective; Prof. Rodil generously subbed for the invited speaker from the Lumad who had been taken ill on the day of the presentation. Mr. Ismael Abubakar, Jr. gave his perspective for the Muslims and Sec. Teresita Deles of OPAPP for the Philippine government. Prof. Rodil’s perspective was basically that the history of Mindanao has brought marginalization to the several lumad tribes who are the original residents of Mindanao

but who did not convert to Islam. The several Muslim groups (Maranao, Maguindanao, Tausug, etc.) are also original residents of Mindanao but these groups converted to Islam during the days of the great Muslim preachers who came to Mindanao. Mr. Abubakar took the position that the lot of the Muslim peoples could be vastly improved if governance could be more effective, and this will have to start with the process of electing those who are given the mandate to govern. Sec. Deles informed the audience of the strides made by the administration of Pres. Aquino, starting with the articulation of a well-defined policy on how the peace process is to proceed.

The second panel dealt with the interaction of culture and religious traditions and values and how these influence relationships within a society whose residents come from different backgrounds. The presentors in this panel were Fr. Paolo Nicelle, PIME, Miss Milet Mendoza and Mr. Alber Husin.

Both panel presentations were followed by an active and interesting conversation between presentors and participants.

Indeed, the Silsilah Special Course, with its 28 participants, was truly “special”.

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