The cost of a half a century on-and-off war in Mindanao is beyond measure. It has resulted to thousands of lives lost, displacement of hundred of thousand people, and extreme poverty in the region. In 2014, 10 out of 16 top poorest provinces in the country are in Mindanao, with 67.3% poverty incidence in Lanao Province (national poverty incidence average at 25%). In 2008, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) reported that a total of 600,000 persons in Mindanao were internally displaced due to war.
The Bangsamoro Peace Process is a breakthrough in the 17 years peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). A Bangsamoro Basic Law, based on a signed Framework Agreement, is pending in Congress. While the piece of legislation is a priority measure of the Aquino Administration, support from different stakeholders is necessary for the passage of the law.
Critical to increasing support is the creation of greater awareness, as found in a survey conducted by the Embassy of United States in the Philippines. In a 2013 national survey of the Social Weather Station (SWS), 30% of the population is not hopeful for the success of the peace agreement; 13% down from 2011, when only 17% was unhopeful. The further away from Mindanao, the higher the percentage of not hopeful for the peace process (22% in Visayas, 18% in Metro Manila, 14% in Balance Luzon, and 13% in Mindanao). The low levels of hopefulness in the success of the peace process can be attributed to lower awareness on the issues surrounding the peace process. A big chuck of this unhopeful are from the youth. More than 60% of the country’s 100 million population is below the age of 30. About 30% are considered youth (ages 15-30).
In support of the on-going peace talks for the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement and the legislation of a Bangsamoro Basic Law, CYAN in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung – Philippine Office – Academy of Political Management (FES APM) Alumni Network conducted Peace Festival in Cebu, Province with the objective of popularizing among young people an understanding of the Bangsamoro and the on-going peace talks. The Peace Festival also served as a venue for catalyzing a network of young people that will support the peace process.
To raise awareness and dialogue with youth leaders in the Visayas, who are outside Mindanao or the proposed areas of Bangsamoro, about the importance and effects of the creation of Bangsamoro in the country.
To build youth constituency for Bangsamoro advocacy in the Visayas.
To document perception and feedback on the Bangsamoro by youth leaders in the Visayas.
To provide a platform for youth in the Visayas to dialogue with their local executives abouot their standpoints on the Bangsamoro.
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, FES-APM Alumni Network, Union of Progressive Students – University of the Philippines- Cebu, Cebu Provincial Government, Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Young Moro Professionals Network
Day long Peace Festival (Forum/Summit); Infovirals on the Bangsamoro Peace Process; core-group formation for youth network for peace