Youth Awareness Program in Sulu PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 March 2016 11:06

Weighing with a belief that the Sulu youth should be educated and be well-informed about the obvious problems that are badly affecting them and their community, the Sulu Youth Active and Responsible Alliance (SYARA),  a group of youth aiming to become community mobilizers, conducted a Youth Awareness Program (YAP) with the theme, “Awareness: A Safe Remedy for All Forms of Diseases” held March 13, 2016 at HUA Gymnasium, Jolo Municipal Compound, Jolo, Sulu.

The program was aimed to give awareness to the youth about rampant issues such as sex, drugs and radicalization. So lectures on “Adolescence and Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH)”, “The Case of Drugs in the Philippine Law”, “How Drugs Affect Human Mind”, and “How to Address Youth Radicalization and Other Violent Activities” were rendered during this one-day event by Mr. Aljaber Lahab, PO1 Ahajon Jail Dail, Mr. Mohaider J. Kairan and Ustadz Gabir Kasim respectively. It was attended by almost 200 youth from in-school and off-campus organizations most of whom are occupying key positions in their respective fellowship. Likewise, it was also graced by prominent personalities in Sulu like Hja. Nurunnisah Abubakar Tan, the President of Sulu Provincial Women Council (SPWC), and Timothy Ijiran, the National President of IDB Graduates Association (IGA) Team Philippines.

Mr. Ijiran gave a message of support to the SYARA by challenging them as well as the participants to become vigilant and make use of their thinking to do things of good virtue. He also emphasized that “as Muslims we should seek knowledge both earthly and heavenly,” and that we should live on this mantra “Committed Muslims and Competent Professionals (CMCP)”, if we are to address radicalization especially among youth. Mr. Ijiran added, the opposite of being aware is ignorance and ignorance of its own religion would lead to radicalization and extremism. Hja. Nurunnisah Abubakar Tan spoke of the important role of the youth in fighting the harm of many alarming problems in the province. She also said that the local government is always trying its best to eradicate these issues, and is always working on its vision for a peaceful Sulu and this, according to her, will only happen if everyone, including the youth, will work hand-in-hand. It was noted that this program was supported and sponsored by SPWC and IGA-Team Philippines.

Meanwhile, in his lecture about ASRH, Mr. Lahab discussed the factors why many of today’s youth are likely committed to do sex which most of the time leads to early pregrancy or early marriage. He also discussed the diseases that someone could get in a pre-marital sex. Although the lecture appeared to be somewhat gross, Mr. Lahab clearly clarified that the participants should be educated enough to understand his lectures so that they would be warned of the danger of pre-marital sex. On the other hand, Mr. Jannaral explained the factors that increase drug addiction and the risks it has for users.

In the mean time, Ustadz Kasim began his lecture by informing the participants that radicalization is not new to the community; that it has been in existence since the time of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). He said that the term radicalization, especially with regards to the youth, is harming the condition of the society, and this harm can only be avoided if each of us is guided by Islamic religion. He truthfully quoted that “Islam is a religion of peace”. “Islam does not teach Muslims to immediately harm political leaders if they committed sins to them (the people),” Ustadz Kasim said while at the height of his lecture. He also noted that “one of the greatest mistakes of a person is when he worships his fellow mankind”. For the conclusion, Ustadz Kasim said that all of us should be really guided and be lighted by Islam.

Following the other side of this program, Jolo Municipal Police Investigator PO1 Ahajon Jali Dail’s lecture did not push through because of the shooting incident that happened during that day. An armed guy fondly called by many as “Larry” fearlessly attacked the Jolo Police Station which is just beside the program’s location. The motives of the attack, however, remain at the hands of the police investigator. Larry actually came alone with his motorcycle and M-14 that caused commotion between him and the policemen on duty. He was then shot to death after minutes of exchanging fire.. Although this incident had caused anxiety on the part of participants who have clearly heard the gunshots, the program still continued as this is the very reason why we need to educate the youth to keep them aware of the various societal issues facing everyone in Sulu.

Finally, after this seemingly long-day event, the participants received certificate for their cooperation and participation in the program which was handed to them by SYARA founder Montasar Bari and SYARA president Mujan Habibon.