• Maguindanao gov urges women to help rid extremism

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    SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu urged women to help in the government’s efforts to rid Moro villages of extremists and radicals.

    Mangudadatu who was guest speaker during the closing program of Women’s Month celebration in Buluan town on Tuesday said, “We should not allow extreme minds to develop among our youth and the mothers have a bigger role to play in guiding their children to a better path in life.”

    Representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) attended the culminating program.

    “As mothers, you have the moral obligation to guide your children so they will not be influenced by extremists who are preying on young Maguindanaons,” Mangudadatu added.

    The governor said he has been praying that parents, especially mothers, should use their conviction in preventing their children from being persuaded into extremism which is un-Islamic.

    Military and police intelligence reports show that local jihadists have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIs) through the Lanao del Sur-based local terrorist organization, the Maute Group and the Maguindanao-based Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

    Women leaders said they are supporting the government’s campaign against extremism and all forms of abuses on women and children.

    The IOM has been strongly advocating in Maguindanao an all-encompassing fight against abuses, exploitation, illegal recruitment and human trafficking.

    “We women are facing the biggest challenge in our lives to protect our sector and our children from recruitment by extremists, human trafficking and illegal recruitment,” Shaimah Macadatu, Maguindanaon Moro woman leader said.

    Tara Dermott, IOM program leader, emphasized the importance of education for the young for them not to be swayed into extremism. “The importance of education and the access to information must be emphasized,” she said.

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