DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Moro candidates of the upcoming Hiyas sa Kadayawan 2017 expressed their sentiments on different issues, from the war against terrorism and discrimination against them.
Hiyas sa Kadayawan features the candidates representing the 11 indigenous and Moro Muslim tribes of Davao City. The event is part of the annual Kadayawan fruit harvest festival.
In a media presentation on Thursday, Aug. 10 held at the STAR Hotel here, some Moro delegates took stand on discrimination and violent extremism.
Hiyas candidate from Maranao tribe, Sittie Haya Lanto Cairoden, 18, believes joining Hiyas sa Kadayawan is her opportunity to tell the public that Muslims, especially, Maranaos, are not like the extremists.
“Kung sa akin po, it is also my opportunity ito para sabihin po sa mga tao na not all Muslims especially the Maranao are like them, we have the same religion which is Islam, but we have our own belief and they also have their own ideology sa paniniwala nila sa aming religion (For me, it is also my opportunity to tell the people that not all Muslims especially the Maranao are like them, we have the same religion which is Islam but we have our own belief and they also have their own ideology on their belief in our religion),” Cairoden said.
Maranaos have been one of the most affected people since İslamic State-linked Maute Group laid siege on Marawi City siege on May 23. Thousands of Maranaos have been displaced.
Cairoden said Maranaos are being “bullied and looked down” by others.
“Gusto ko lang ipaalam ‘yung saloobin ko about sa nangyayari ngayon. We Maranaos are being bullied, being looked down by others because of our culture, faith, and our tribe (I want to let them know about my sentiment about the happenings at present. We Maranaos are bullied, being looked down by others because of our culture, faith and our tribe),” Cairoden said.
Like Cairoden, Kagan tribe representative, Jerlyn Maminto Mancia, 19, stressed that the Moro people are commonly judged and linked as terrorists.
“Dili nato madeny naa gyu’y dilemma sa ing-ani nga society wherein ginajudge na ang mga Muslim nga malink sa mga terrorista which is not. Mao to akong gusto ipadayag sa tanan nga ang mga Muslims are not terrorists (We can’t deny that there is a dilemma on the society wherein Muslims are judged, that Muslims are linked to terrorists, which should not be. That is what I want to tell everyone that Muslims are not terrorists),” Mancia said.
“The Moro tribe, the Moro people are not terrorists,” Mancia added.
Mancia said she believes that “terrorism is beyond the tradition of her tribe and beyond the tradition and practices of the Agama” (Islam religion).
Mancia said the youth tend to be vulnerable when it comes to being influenced by different ideologies presented to them, that is why the family and the community’s role as influencers of the youth is really important.
Cairoden said the key to attain peace is to “respect each other’s culture.”
“I believe that if we respect each other’s faith, tradition and norms especially, then we can attain peace. And we can attain a strong nation, all of us, we can attain peace and we could also be agents of peace,” Cairoden added.
Cairoden said her advocacy is centered on “multi-cultural understanding with equal respect to various tribes of Davao City.”
“My advocacy is to promote the maintenance of cultural diversity to policies which people of various ethnic and religious groups are addressed by authority as defined by the group to which they belong,” she added.
The Hiyas ng Kadayawan will be held on August 18 at the University of Southeastern Philippines gymnasium in Obrero.(davaotoday.com)