by Karen R. Veloso, CON
An online forum on women and violent extremism was held via Zoom on March 24 as part of the celebration of Women’s Month and UN Women’s Day.
The activity was organized by the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM) and the Department of Political Science and Center of Local Governance Studies of the College of Arts and Social Sciences.
The forum explored the roles played by women in the continuing rise of violent extremism including the motivations behind their various role-adoptions.
It also aimed to understand the effects of violent extremism on women, especially its interplay with women empowerment, as well as identify policy gaps and women’s programs that could address the present challenges of women in conflict-affected areas.
The forum featured discussants who were from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Pilumbayan, and the University.
Ms. Michelle Espedido of DILG- Region X discussed the National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (NAP-P/CVE). She presented the challenges posed by the continuing threat of violent extremism in the Southern Philippines and the existing PCVE plans, priorities, and interventions, spotlighting the roles and contributions of women.
Ms. Sittie Janine Gamao, a community peace builder and lead convenor of Pilumbayan, an organization striving to empower young women in the Bangsamoro through awareness-raising and knowledge-sharing, presented and discussed the significant role of women on violent extremism in the community level, specifically on the Bangsamoro experience, as actors on opposite ends.
Included in the panel discussion was MSU-IIT’s Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension and Gender and Development focal person, Dr. Jinky Bornales who talked about how women can be empowered by education and technology.
Dr. Bornales also encouraged the participants towards a holistic, collaborative approach, with an emphasis on technology development and innovation, to help bridge the gender gaps in various dimensions and bring impact to the community.
Sociology expert and Peace Research Coordinator of IPDM, Asst. Prof. Arnold Alamon also shared the results of his research entitled Mapping Violent Extremism Projects after the 2017 Marawi Crisis, wherein a mapping out and synthesis of PCVE/PTVE studies and programs/interventions in the BARMM region were done.