Zamboanga City—As Peace Month began, Philippine Marines deployed in conflict-affected Sulu sent messages of peace to enemies of the state that are lurking in the province and causing havoc using Tausug kites known as “taguri.”
Marine Battalion Landing Team 1 Commanding Officer LtC Stephen Cabanlet sent off his unit’s message to members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and other lawless elements to surrender and return to the fold of the law.
The Marine Battalion, in partnership with the Notre Dame of Jolo College, kicked off Peace Month with a Kite-Making Contest and an Art Exhibit in Jolo, Sulu’s capital town.
“To the Abu Sayyaf, the path where you stand right now may not be of your choosing but the future is yours to make. Make that decisión right now and join me in this journey towards peace,” Cabanlet said.
The Marine officer has been leading his battalion island-hopping in Sulu while meeting Tausug and Sama people from different communities, delivering civic-military projects with different non-government organizations and volunteer associations.
They stressed that the government is wanting to bring better development in their lives but needs the people’s cooperation.
“Peace is elusive and we may not even achieve it in our lifetime, but we are working hard to make it possible for the next generation,” Cabanlet said.
The Taguri-Making (and Kite-Flying) Contest is a Project by MBLT1 and the Notre Dame of Jolo College, kicked off on September 3 and will end on September 4.
The kite, locally known as ‘taguri,’ is part of Tausug culture and is an all-year outdoor game in Sulu. It reminds the Tausug to treasure their culture. However, it could also be a warning sign to the lawless that they abide with the forcé of the law, Cabanlet said.
Meanwhile, the 1st Marine Battalion’s Civic-Military Officer, 1Lt. Ramel Vilocura, further shared about Huminang, the art exhibit that features the work of about 12 visual artists from Mindanao, paintings by Sulu school children, Marine soldiers stationed in the área.
“The artists Edwin Jumalon, Saudi Ahmad, Lorna Fernandez, Jana Jumalon-Alano, Sayid Cedicol, Chester Mato, Is Jumalon, Melissa Abuga-a, Teofilo Torino, Mai Secuban, Pat Borja, and myself have united in this art exhibit for a cause in shared recognition that the most genuine source of power in Southern Philippines is art and culture,” Zamboanguena artist Mijan Jumalon said in a separate interview.
“’Huminang’ is a fierce declaration that peace can be meaningfully cultivated with a mindest of creation,” Vilocura said.
Cabanlet added that both activities, the kite-flying contest, and the art show, are both parts of Task Force Sulu’s campaign, ‘From Terrorism to Tourism’.
“These are works that embody joyful creativity amidst conflict, and human values amidst violence,” Jumalon said.