COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Government, through its Ministry of Public Order and Safety (MPOS), named Esmael Usop Sema from Maguindanao as Bangsamoro Peace Champion 2020.
MPOS Minister Hussien P. Muñoz awarded Sema a trophy, plaque of recognition and P50,000 cash reward in a ceremony Monday, Dec. 28, in Cotabato City.
Muñoz said the Bangsamoro Peace Champion 2020 is an annual program that aims to recognize the initiatives of peacebuilders and advocates, and to encourage them to continue their noble endeavors.
He stressed that the program intends to acknowledge “exemplary individuals who dedicated their time and resources to peace efforts, initiatives and activities […] to contribute in developing, improving and strengthening the peace environment in their communities and areas within the Bangsamoro Region.”
Sema saw that the community of Barangay Barurao in the town of Sultan Sa Barongis faces various social issues such as lack of potable water, frequent flooding, unpaved roads, presence of lawless elements, and absence of a secondary school.
These challenges, Sema noted, result to fewer opportunities of uplifting their lives. Considering his place a depressed community, people could end up holding arms and engaging in conflicts as chances of education and lower income hover their lives.
This year, Sema founded the Kaliyot B. Sali Peace Academy, Inc. to advocate peace through education, and encourage the locality to attend schools.
The school offers free education to its students, including free uniforms and other needed materials.
He highlighted that education promotes peace and it can be one of the most powerful tools to reduce the tendency of people joining militancy and engaging in lawlessness.
“Seeing the good feedback and results of your efforts, you will have more motivation in your peace advocacies,” Sema said.
Four other peace advocates who “carry genuine and colorful flags of peace initiatives and efforts in their Bangsamoro communities” were also named as finalists for the awarding – Lo Ivan Castillon from Cotabato City, Joharie Kabugatan from Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao; Jamilnur Sarip from Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, and Sohaila Macadato from Cotabato City.
The nominees underwent three rigid stages of selection screening and deliberation to ensure they imbibe the core values of being a Bangsamoro Peace Champion and the ministry’s ambassador of peace in the region. (Bangsamoro Information Office)
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