A group of Thai-Muslim people from Pattani, Southern Thailand paid courtesy visit to the Bangsamoro Development Agency-Central Management Office (BDA-CMO) on February 17, 2016 at Bangsamoro Development Center in Cotabato City, Inc. (BDCCCI).
Accordingly, the visit was a part of a training program on peace mediation at People’s College in Pattani.
Professor Dr. Kamarulzaman Askandar from University of Malaysia Sabah (UMS) was the only one from Malaysia who led the group.
They were welcomed by staff of the BDA-CMO.
Engr. Nasser Sinarimbo, BDA-Organizational Performance and Management Consultant (OPMC) also joined in welcoming the visitors.
Dr. Askandar initially introduced his colleagues and the executive director of the People’s College and discussed the purpose of their visit.
“Our Pattani brothers here are all part of a training program at People’s College which have been organizing a series of capacity building activities to increase the capacity of the Pattani people especially the civil society leaders in Pattani because we have facing the conflict in Pattani for long time and we need to raise capacity in order to have peace process,” Dr. Askandar stated.
“The peace process in Pattani is still in first stage and that’s why we feel to learn more about the peace process and we need to come in Mindanao because this is like almost a laboratory for peace and we’ve been doing this program on peace mediation and this is the last stage of our training program,” he added.
Meanwhile, a presentation on BDA was conducted for them to be familiarized about the development programs being conducted by the agency as development arm of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
An open forum was also part of the activity after the presentation.
In an interview, Faisal Daud, one of the Thai visitors said “we came to learn many things from here just like we found it in Mindanao that there are stronger CSO (civil society organization) here that’s why we chose this place to visit and study”.
Daud said that BDA have done many things with the local people and inclusive for the area and he thought that he could get something to share with people in Pattani base on the BDAs’ presentation.
On the other hand, he also mentioned that they chose to visit Mindanao as part of their training because they want to study the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
“Pattani people have just started negotiations. So we think, we have to follow up many things and that we also learned what are the element factors make its (BBL) failure. These things will nice for us to learn about”, Daud said.
In his message to BDA, Daud said “I think, the people there (in Pattani) like it so much because something is concrete one have done into the people in the grassroots so I think, you just have to continue it,” he ended.
At the end of the activity, the visitors received a copy of the Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP) Integrative Report.