Updated: Oct 23, 2021
This interview features Suwaidi Ebrahim, a student at Mindanao State University - Maguindanao and the Project Lead of Akbay Bangsamoro.
How did you become a Bangsamoro youth leader?
I started my journey as a Bangsamoro youth leader during the time of the campaign for the ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law. I really saw the Bayanihan movement, the effort, the sacrifices, and the unity of the Bangsamoro people in Maguindanao to push and win “yes” in the plebiscite. My fellow Bangsamoro youth leaders inspire me to have a big dream for the Bangsamoro. My dream at that time was to gain a big percentage of economic development in the whole region because the poverty rate of the BARMM was nearly three times the national rate.
But I was questioning my capability at that time on how can I really fulfill my dream for Bangsamoro if I am not so exposed to any community works and lacking with essential leadership knowledge. So, the first step I took was to join various training and workshops that would empower me so that I would make my dream for Bangsamoro possible. So until now, I am still working on the progress of my leadership skills so that someday, when my time comes, I would not fail to make my dream for Bangsamoro happen.
Now, I study BS Social Work at Mindanao State University-Maguindanao (but whatever my political opinions do not necessarily reflect sa school namin). I am the project lead of the Akbay Bangsamoro - a project that aims to increase the quality of Islamic Education in Maguindanao. The target areas of implementation are the municipalities of Mamasapano and Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
What are the most pressing issues that concern the Bangsamoro and how do you address these issues?
The long years of conflict and war in Maguindanao have severely impacted the lives of the Bangsamoro, most especially those living in conflict-affected communities. This is my main concern in the Bangsamoro region. Hundred of families have not recovered or ameliorated; most of the communities still have a very low economic development, and job opportunities are very very limited for them. Dahil sa mababa na economic development ng BARMM, marami ang mga bata na hindi nakakapag aral, marami ang mga pamilyang isang kahig isang tuka. This is a big problem that requires the Bangsamoro Government and various Non-Government Organizations in the BARMM region to take a prompt response. I know that this issue cannot be solved overnight, but the hope in me never lost.
As a Bangsamoro youth leader, what characteristics are you looking for in a national and local government candidate? How would these characteristics enable the candidate to address the issues that you mentioned?
For me, the characteristics that I am looking for in a national and local government candidate are sincerity, self-discipline, loyalty, and integrity. Because I believe that when a candidate possesses these characteristics, then corruption and disrespect of human rights will never happen. A sincere candidate will never expect anything in return for his or her service to the Filipino people. A candidate who has self-control/discipline would literally control himself/herself from making a decision or an action without involving any emotion. And lastly, a leader who has a moral standard, transparency, and good values.
As a Bangsamoro youth leader, what policies and programs do you want national and local government candidates to support? Which of these do you want to be prioritized?
The programs I wanted the national and local government candidates to support is to invest more and more sustainable livelihood programs in the Bangsamoro region because I firmly stand that if the Bangsamoro people will be given many opportunities in entrepreneurship then economic stability and development would happen and radicalization may not be likely to grow.
May Sustainable Livelihood Program naman ang Ministry of Social Services and Dev't (MSSD) how ever medyo maliit pa ang number of beneficiaries nila. I dont know the reason why, pero sana mas marami pa ang number of beneficiaries nila dahil marami din ang nangangailangan ng tulong pangkabuhayan.
I think the other programs ay, local officials (municipal level) should have an extension services sa lahat ng madrasah na napapaloob sa kanilang munisipyo dahil ang mga madrasah ay kulang na kulang sa tulong at hindi masyado nabibigyan ng attention ng LGUs.
Should candidates with these characteristics and priorities succeed in #Halalan2022, how do you envision the Philippines and the lived realities of the Bangsamoro in 6 years?
When these characteristics and priorities succeed in #Halalan2022, I would say that the peace agreement between the national government and the Bangsamoro government will become successful. The percentage of economic growth rate will increase, and no more Bangsamoro children and families will be left behind.