Mindanao: spreading a culture of peace through radio
The motto conveys the idea of breaking down barriers among people, said Jonathan Domingo, head of the Oblate Media Center, so that people can be more inclusive and compassionate towards others, and thus fulfil the core values of the Oblate mission in the Philippines.
“Besides covering the news in the region, it [the centre] espouses an active public journalism [. . .], providing in-depth analysis and information for a better understanding of issues affecting the region," Fr Domingo said. In addition, “the physical coming together of these entities will create a strong network that will promote and enhance synergy among these institutions,” he said.
For the clergyman, the physical proximity "will create a strong network that will promote and enhance synergy among these institutions," as well as raise awareness among journalists about the importance of peace in Mindanao.
I-Watch, for example, is an audiovisual service that produces and disseminates material on various local issues and gives a voice to the region's poor.
Founded in 1948, the weekly The Mindanao Cross is one of the island's oldest Catholic papers. It stopped publication only when dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law (1972-1981).
For the past 40 years, Mindanao's Muslim majority has been affected by a conflict between the Filipino military and radical Islamic groups like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf.
However, peace talks have been underway since September between the government and MILF. Recently the army captured Abdul Basir Latip, a founding member of Abu Sayyaf.
Sadly, the existence of private armies controlled by powerful Muslim clans in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has created another point of conflict (see " Mindanao: dozens killed in election-related fighting between rival families", AsiaNews.it, 23 November 2009). Because of this martial law was imposed on 8-12 December 2009 and the region is still patrolled by 4,000 Filipino soldiers.