COTABATO CITY—Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC) and the Equal Access International – Philippines (EAI-PH) signed on Tuesday, January 18, a partnership agreement for the implementation of a messaging hub project in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
BYC Chairperson Marjanie Macasalong and EAI-PH Country Director Ahmed Harris Pangcoga led the ceremonial signing, which was held at Pagana Kutawato Native Restaurant, Cotabato City.
Through the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), both parties have agreed to be partners in the implementation of OURmindaNOW Kutawato Messaging Hub regional node—a mode of communication and information dissemination and a convergence platform for areas in the Bangsamoro region.
Chairperson Macasalong said the BYC is with EAI–Philippines in recognizing the importance of providing productive and meaningful spaces of active participation for youth in aspects of peace promotion and transforming violent extremism.
Chairperson Macasalong noted that this generation’s challenge is building communities of youth who are resilient against brainwashing and distorted ideologies and preaching of extremist groups.
“One significant step to that is mechanizing hybrid modes of communication and information dissemination across the region,” Macasalong added.
He further noted, “through the OURmindaNOW Kutawato Messaging Hub, we can make greater heights in responding to this specific context.”
EAI-PH Country Director Ahmed Harris Pangcoga said, “this technology of messaging hub originated from one of the program interventions that sought to establish a platform where organizations and individuals representing different sectors of the society [are] able to talk and work together using information gathered to try to respond to issues that affect them.”
“The collaboration will result in a more effective and efficient implementation of the programs and projects and in the development of a system for providing proper information pathways, advisories, communication tools, and convergence opportunities in the promotion of peace and development, as well as in the prevention and transformation of violent extremism affecting both urban and rural communities within the region,” Pangcoga emphasized.
Also present during the ceremonial signing were BYC Commissioners Nasserudin Dunding, representing Maguindanao with Cotabato City and Special Geographic Areas; Pratima Samsaraji, representing Tawi-Tawi; and Mohammad Faizal Alih, representing Sulu.
A similar signing was also simultaneously held between the EAI-PH and Mindanao State University Maguindanao’s Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (MSU-IPDM) headed by the University Chancellor Bai Hejira Nefertiti Limbona.
BYC and MSU–Maguindanao will co-host the implementation of the OURmindaNOW Kutawato Messaging Hub regional node where they will co-initiate regional peace and development activities as well as collaborate with the technical working group (TWG) of the regional mode in the co-implementation of said activities.
EAI–Philippines is an international non-profit organization engaged in implementing innovative media and community outreach programs that inspire social change in Peacebuilding and Transforming Extremism, Championing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; and Governance and Civic Engagement. (Majid Nur/BIO)