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BANGSAMORO SPEAKS: Young Bangsamoro as keeper of the torch of peace for the whole world to see

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BANGSAMORO SPEAKS: Young Bangsamoro as keeper of the torch of peace for the whole world to see
Morsid Mayog Kusain 

(This piece won 1st runner up in the On-the-Spot Online Essay Writing Contest in celebration of the third founding anniversary of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao). 

The creation of the Bangsamoro through Republic Act No. 11054 was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Bangsamoro people to show the world how we govern and maintain peace throughout our region. It comes with the responsibility not just for our elders who are leading us now but to all of us in making sure that we are a force for good for our whole republic. These responsibilities are for ourselves, our posterity, and for all those who shed blood in defense of freedom leading to this very moment when we can finally write our own history in the history of great men. In other words, this is your and my responsibility.

As a young Bangsamoro, even without witnessing the terrible atrocities of my past, I should embody the spirit of keeping this peace and even furtherance of prosperity for my Bangsamoro. With the knowledge as a University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman student, my first important role is to be a vanguard of good governance because I recognize that it is the first ingredient of a peaceful community. 

My responsibility is to be fearless whenever I see public officials in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)  who are acting inimical to the values of the Bangsamoro and without regard to the sacrifices of those who came before us. I shall expose them without fear of retribution whilst reminding myself that exposing bad behavior is part of maintaining peace. 

In view of the United Nation’s Development Program (UNDP)’s Eight Principles of Governance, I shall remind our leaders that good governance should be participatory, with the recognition of the rule of law, transparent, responsive and heeds the calls of their constituents, consensus-oriented, effective and efficient, and should at all times be accountable to the people.

Second, as a student in the premier university of our country, it is also my responsibility to educate others about their roles and the importance of their participation in making sure that our BARMM government reflects the best of us and our interests.

I am aware that dozens of my fellow Bangsamoro particularly in those far-flung areas do not have adequate education about basic civic duties. This should be my call to be a role model for my fellow Bangsamoro youth — to remind them that a new generation of Bangsamoro is on the horizon; a Bangsamoro who is educated, peacemaker, and law-abiding citizen of the republic. This is because I recognize that education should not rest between my two ears but should influence others and mobilize them to act.

Third, my responsibility to study well and show the whole Philippines and the world what a Bangsamoro can do is a sacred obligation not only for myself but for all my descendants. Precisely because everyone of us is a reflection of our families, our neighbors and most importantly, our Bangsa which is Moro. I shall educate myself about the Constitution and governance knowing that I will be among those who will lead our young autonomous region in the future. 

To educate myself means to carry out the values of our elders: be a good man, a good citizen, a good student and a faithful Muslim. 

Embodying these ideals as sacred duties would lead us to the most important thing our leaders should have: upholding not only moral but humane and good governance for all Bangsamoro. 

The scars of our atrocious past are still here, especially in our elders. Indeed, there is so much to be done to reach our aspirations as Bangsamoro but we can’t be there when there is no moral good governance in our leaders. 

Moral governance means to recognize the past when our ancestors, parents, brothers, sisters and even us had to crawl the mud of the forests to hide from bullets pouring over our heads like raindrops from greens of virgin forests. This should remind us that there were countless lives who sacrificed for the freedoms we have today. Reflecting this past is our sacred obligation to lead the most virtuous and moral way for the benefit of our people. 

The pains of the Bangsamoro are still here and they all deserve to be empowered again just like when Shariff Kabunsuan first landed on our shores and enlightened us until today about the values of leadership.

It begins with educating the young Bangsamoro. Every modern great country like Singapore, South Korea, and Japan began with the recognition that there is no such thing as miracles; that Allah (swt) will lead us into our dream dispositions when we enlighten ourselves. Moral governance is important when we recognize that giving education to Bangsamoro means empowering them to be leaders themselves in their respective homes and fields.

Moral governance also touches upon our leadership styles and the way we formulate policies, rules and execute them. Our actions should embody the spirit of making sure every Bangsamoro has decent life with affordable houses and education for the youths. It means engaging with the ordinary Bangsamoro
and attentively listening beside them whilst we think about our next steps. It means to heed their calls and make their voices be heard in our parliaments, our policies and everything.

Moral governance also means keeping the peace in all areas of Mindanao. Keeping tranquility entails preventing those who want to divide us from further damaging our localities. It is precisely because we know that war and conflict damage the moral frameworks of the citizens and especially the youth. 

Our leaders must make sure that as long as we have the power as self-governing region, we will not allow those extreme ideologies to penetrate the young mindsets of the Bangsamoro that’s already transitioning to the modern world of being part of BARMM.

Ultimately, it is important in order to show the whole Philippines and all those countries who contributed to the attainment of the status quo; Malaysia, Japan, Turkey, and other amicable nations who serve as bridges between our national government and us for all the years. It is to show them that their investments will bear fruits in the triumph of peace in Mindanao and will contribute to stability in ASEAN and the Asia Pacific region. Our form of gratitude is our way of leading the people by considering their welfare and making sure that clouds of burning gases and materials brought out by wars will never again endanger them.

In conclusion, I am so much happy and proud as a Bangsamoro in UP Diliman, standing tall with the banner of Muslim and Bangsamoro. As long as I live, I will keep this sacred obligation to me; to be a role model, to make sure that our BARMM leaders and national leaders are for the welfare of our Bangsamoro and the Philippines, to handle myself with the best values of Islam and Bangsamoro and to never ever betray the sacrifices of those who fought for today including my father who shed blood and died for the Bangsamoro. 

My obligations encompass my esteemed importance of good, humane moral governance that my Bangsamoro people deserve no less. 

It took generations of good men and women for us to arrive on this day when the Bangsamoro have the power to shape their lives. Realizing this fact would lead me to value moral governance as sacred and it should be upheld at all times, from the bottom up to the top hierarchy of the Bangsamoro government. 

Long live, my Bangsamoro!

(This piece, written by Morsid Mayog Kusain of Pikeg, Shariff Saydona Mustafa in Maguindanao, won first runner up in the On-the-Spot Online Essay Writing Contest on the theme, “Changing People’s Lives, Transforming the Bangsamoro: Celebrating and Sustaining the Gains of Peace and Moroal Governacne,” held via zoom on January 18, 2022, as part of the activities in celebration of the third founding anniversary of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao). 

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