By Calvin Penaco

ILIGAN CITY, April 17 (PIA TFBM ICCC) – Exploring history is an important part of understanding violent extremism.

“It’s not enough that you discuss the tip of the iceberg—what’s happening now. You need to understand the historical perspective and the their world view,” Bangsamoro Transition Commission member Datu Mussolini Lidasan said in his presentation during the communications training spearheaded by the Task Force Bangon Marawi Information Management and Strategic Communications Support Group (TFBM-IMSCSG).

Datu Lidasan presented several approaches to countering/preventing violent extremism (CVE/PVE) on the second day of the communications training.

Lidasan’s presentation was aimed at introducing the historical context of violent extremism (VE) with its focus on the effects on Marawi City, understanding the radicalization process, and establishing a guide towards creating TFBM intervention programs.

According to him, there are many definitions for VE from multiple organizations around the world. For the presentation, however, he defined it as the “belief and actions of people who support or use ideologically-motivated violence to achieve radical, ideological, religious, or political views.”

He added that “it is possible to trace historical factors that led to the creation of such groups in predominantly Muslim countries.”

In discussing the historical context of VE, he highlighted the Bangsamoro’s long struggle for self-determination, which had begun even before the word Bangsamoro was coined.

Bangsamoro Transition Commission member Datu Mussolini Lidasan explains the different factors contributing to violent extremism. (PIA ICCC)

He also discussed the origins of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and other extremist groups, including those that are outside the Philippines.

Factors related to VE were identified, which include psychological, social, political, ideological, and cultural factors. Push and pull factors were also highlighted, which are factors that force people towards VE.

Push factors include poverty, unemployment, marginalization, oppression, and lack of opportunities. Pull factors include monetary incentives, protection, sense of belonging and identity, and religious rewards.

Finally, Lidasan’s proposed approaches to CVE/PVE emphasized providing space for conversations especially with civil society organizations (integration), adjusting intervention programs according to different contexts (contextualization), and policies and programs that include other ethnicities and religions (inclusivity).

“CVE, in our context, is not just a homeland security issue like in the US. In our context, CVE is a peace-building response. We need to make our Moro brothers feel that they are part of the Philippine Republic,” he said. (Calvin Penaco/PIA ICCC)