This southern region of the Philippines has been torn by 40 years of war between Muslim rebel groups like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and government troupes, costing countless civilian lives and loss of property, despite efforts by Catholic leaders and moderate Muslim leaders to re-establish peace and security for residents and boost the area’s economic development.
The one-hour radio broadcast will be aired live every Saturday from 6 to 7 pm on Radio Mindanao Network for a year.
Marcelina Carpizo, director of the Western Mindanao State University's (WMSU) Center for Peace and Development, and Alain Paragas, a psychology instructor at WMSU, will anchor the show, interviewing guests, focusing on topics like inter-faith dialogue, doctrine and theology, inter-cultural sharing, economic development and the wishes and aspirations of the local population.
During the show field reports from eight Mass Communication students from WMSU will be aired.
The project also includes a monthly 30-minute documentary, titled ‘Solidarity Connections’, which is expected to be broadcast on the first week of August at government-run RPN 5 radio channel.
Meanwhile the government and MILF have reached a breakthrough agreement on the thorny issue of self-government in Mindanao.
On 24 July negotiators from both sides will meet to set a date for the signing of a memorandum of agreement.
The MILF agreed to drop the term “freedom” in the draft agreement whilst the central government accepts the creation of a federated state that would include the four provinces in the south that make up a self-rule area called the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It would also include an additional 712, predominantly Muslim villages, as well as local Muslim control over forest and mineral resources.