The Institute for Autonomy and Governance under the project EnPolD Bangsamoro in partnership with the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA) conducted a Peace and Security Forum, on 11 August 2017, gathering Muslim Religious Leaders in Zamboanga City, the Security Sector and members of the Interreligious Solidarity for Peace-Peace Advocates Zamboanga to discuss possible solutions on the spread/influence of Extremism amongst the Youth in Zamboanga City. This Peace and Security Forum is also in partnership with the Ulama Council for Zamboanga Peninsula.

Vandrazel M. Birowa, project coordinator of ZABIDA-Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) gave the welcome remarks and at the same time the brief rationale of the activity.

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He said that the activity was conceptualized to discuss and address the emerging issues in the region. He stressed that this is to provide an avenue for discussion of the violent extremism and terrorism which he said is a pressing issue now a days in that the region.

In addition, he also explained that the activity is an expanded meeting of the ZPSF to collaborate with the Ulama Council for Zamboanga Peninsula and the Technical Working Group of the city’s peace and security to discuss the radicalism among the youth and to ask the security sector to clarify the earlier report that some of the Madrasa and the Masjids in the city are becoming breeding grounds for recruitment for the youth.

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Security Concerns and Issues

From the Task Force Zamboanga
In behalf of the Commanding Officer of Task Force Zamboanga, Capt. Khristopher Maghanoy gave the briefing as to the implementation of the security measures in the city. He said that the security forces in the city are sincere in the implementation of peace and security because this is a sensitive issue.

He also said that they are working hand in hand with the city local government units. In response to the issue of recruitments of young people in a certain village in the eastern part of the city, he said that the TFZ are still verifying the said report.

He also appealed to the administrators of the Madrasa to help them resolve the issue as is this for the welfare of the youth sector of the city. He ended his presentation by encouraging those in the forum to help each other.

From Ulama Council for Zamboanga Peninsula
Ustadz Abdulwakil Kasim, Chairperson of the Crisis Management of the Ulama Council for Zamboanga Peninsula gave the update on security from their group. He said that his group is also part of the newly created Technical Working Group of the City Government on peace and security. He said that they are now constantly visiting and monitoring with the military some of the mosque and madrasa in the city especially at night to ensure there is no such recruitment is happening.

He also underscored the significant role of the media in resolving the issue of recruitments in the city. He said that the media should also conduct interview with the people prior interviewing the security sector, adding that the media do not get data from the right person.


Ways to Move Forward:
Engr. Ali S. Urao, secretariat of the Darul Ifta gave the ways to move forward. He shared the following: a) The mainstream citizens are very concerns on the indoctrination as it has been transpired into action; b) The correcting of historical injustice; c) Shia-Sunni divides; d) The effects of social media; e) Support for peace-building; f) The perception of Madrasa as avenue for radicalization; g) Do the mapping of Madrasa in Zamboanga City; and h) The spoilers and dividers.