Violent extremism, among the youth of today, concerned most of the society in all parts of the world. Some Muslim youth, due to lack of opportunity, gradually resulted in such options.  In the context of Sulu where its residents had been at war for almost a decade, people long for peace and stability in their native land, and placed high hopes to the youth of Sulu, believing that one day, with these youth, they can overcome this challenge as they bring pride to their fatherland. 

 Thus, Synergiea in collaboration with the Jolo Municipality Women’s Council (JMWC), the Local Yourh Development Office and Sanguniang Kabataan ng Jolo organized KaPEACEtahan KABATAAN “YOUTH on PEACE and ARTS FESTIVAL” that aims to help build peace together with the youth from the different barangays in Jolo. These organizations had long been very supportive to such agenda such that they organized a festival that shall enhance the youth in building their potentials in arts by showcasing their talents in singing, dancing, acting and poster painting which were witnessed by different barangay representatives such as SK officers, parents and guardians, LGU’s, Barangay officials, some students, and other stakeholders in the community.

Further, the event is to achieve the following objectives:

  • To enlighten the youth and to use their skills on arts to raise awareness on acts of violent extremism.
  • To capacitate the SK and other youth organizations through arts, with the participation of the community stakeholders to eradicate the influence of violent extremism among young children.
  • To showcase the talent on Arts among Tausug youth.

Starting with preliminaries such as registration spearheaded by secretariat from Jolo Municipality’s Women Council , and a prayer led by  Mr. Ruhoddin S. Saabdulla, Jolo Tourism Officer II; the Singing of the Philippine National Anthem, the event emceed by Mr. Nash Abduhadi, commenced.

Afterwards, a Welcome Message delivered by Hja. Nur-Rayhan Alfad Tan, RN, President of the JMWC was delivered. She thanked everyone in presence especially Synergeia for spearheading such momentous event and a big opportunity for the talented youth of Sulu. As the head of Jolo Municipality’s Women Council, she encouraged everyone to believe that “men or women, young or old, everybody has a part to play and has a role to fulfill. Only by being given the opportunity, one can shine.”  Her words had truly inspired the audience.

Afterwards, Mr. Elsimir Tawasil, the program officer of Synergeia read the objectives for today’s festival and introduced the other speakers for this event, Mr. Edsir A. Tan II, Councilor and also member of the committee on Peace; and Hon. Kerkhar S. Tan, Mayor of Sulu. All of them inspired the audience especially the youth attendees by emphasizing on the significance of their role in the society.

Hon. Kerkhar S. Tan couldn’t help himself but mention numerous times how big the contribution of the youth is in PVE. According to him, “It takes a village to raise a child. So we must take care of that village.” He emphasized that by looking out for the society, we also look out for our children.

To entertain all the participants, an intermission number was presented by Jolo Tausug Artist followed by the presentation of Jolo youth artists’ masterpieces from Barangay Alat, Asturias, Bus-Bus, Chinese Pier in a form of Canvas painting.

Not only youth from Barangay Chinese Pier showcased their talent in painting but also in bodily-kinesthetic aspect when the Barangay Chinese Pier Youth, whom are also KKDAT-Regional Chamipon for Interpretative Dance, performed an astounding and applauded dance. Thereafter, youth artists’ from Barangay Sanraymundo, Takut-Takut, Tulay and Walled City presented their masterpiesces Pier in a form of Canvas painting as well.

These are the masterpieces presented along with a brief interpretation provided by the artists during the activity:

“Rainbow symbolizes gender equality. Nakedness of people depicts equality despite wealth, position and status differences. The different colors signify culture equality, no stereotyping example, between Tausugs and Badjaos. The Dove symbolizes purity.”
“Mother nature for me symbolizes peace. Unity between Muslims and Christians or “Kagandahan ng pakikipag-kapwa”as well as each of them hides beauty in their differences”
Peace is positive change and always choosing for the betterment. The Earth symbolizes prosperity. People holding hands for love and good relationship towards each other. The church, mosque and mosque for unity despite adversity. Book for knowledge and guidance.”
Mosques as place of worship for Muslims. Frontliners are also included as they stayed strong despite all the difficulties during pandemic, we heal as one along with hospitals and LGU for the support. There is also heart with the word “salam” that symbolizes the love for each religion, be it Christians or Muslims. Roles of youth- leadership, courage, respect, technology are also included in the painting”
For us, Peace is free from worries about one’s health or anything, It is the feeling of silence, serenity, and nostalgia that could be found in a person or place and for us, it is Sapah Mading, a lake in Sulu. Long before when going to hinterlands were still scary because of terrorism, kidnappings, etc., it was hard even for the natives of Jolo to visit such beautiful places. However, peace changed that and made us see the many wonders hidden in our motherland.”
“This is an abstract painting of a face to symbolize how peace looks like in Sulu. The difference in the color of two sides symbolizes how one transitions from the blasts of emotions (depicted by multitudes of color) to inner peace (with blue background).”
The hand symbolizes how only us, human beings, can achieve our own peace. If we do not move or take action, peace is likely to be elusive. The stairs symbolize how peace paves the way to progress and people at the center of the painting symbolizes how human relationship is the core to achieving peace.”

These masterpieces were judged with a criteria read by Mr. Elsimir Tawasil. The winners were announced by the chairman of the Board of Judges. They are the following along with their prizes. Everybody felt like winners as a consolation prize of 2,000 pesos was given.

1st prize (10,000 pesos) – Barangay Tulay

2nd prize (7,000 pesos) – Barangay Bus-Bus

3rd prize (5,000 pesos) – Barangay Chinese Pier

The activity ended with a closing remarks delivered by Hon. Farrenz A. Tan, SK Federation President who pledged to take their part in Preventing Violent Extremism. They promised to be an example and a model to the youth by being kind, honest, respectful, and all the values a Tausug youth can ever possess. They also would like to finish their studies to be an asset in their family, in their community and moreover, to Lupah Sug. After his speech, there was a photo opportunity for everyone.

The said activity was highly praised by SK-Sanggunian Kabataan and other youth groups which they concluded that the youth of Sulu should be proud of their heritages in Arts and Culture that once flourished during its time as a Sultanate and Kingdom. With the huge support from JMWC and BLGU representatives whom helped organize and arrange the activity, the activity was indeed an over-all a success.