Oct 13, 2011

UVPN History: It all started as a Dream...


Ms. Suad K. Usman, a Mathematics teacher in Sultan Kudarat Islamic Academy (SKIA), Brgy. Bulalo, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao conceived a plan to conduct a Pre-Ramadhan Exhibit as part of the preparation for the coming of the Holy Month of Ramadhan. Having the Special Science Class-II as the best class for her during that school year, she assigned it to facilitate the said activity to be led by Hamodi L. Tiboron. Mr. Tiboron accepted the task. Together with Jelfaad J. Salik, he asked for the approval of the school administration, delegated tasks to each committee formed in the class and assisted Ms. Usman in gathering all the materials to be used in the exhibit. The activity had been impressively successful. Huge number of the school's constituents had visited the exhibit. Muslim constituents were urged to strengthen their faith while the Non-Muslim ones were able to change their views towards ISLAM, leaving no more misconceptions against the religion. This noble undertaking had truly inspired Mr. Tiboron. His spirit as a Muslim student leader had been ignited.

Being noted as an active third year high school student, Mr. Tiboron was chosen by Hadja Bai Salma Lourdes V. Mastura, the better half of the SKIA President and Founder Datu Michael O. Mastura, dean of the college and president of the Asian Conference on Religion and Peace (ACRP) in the Philippines, to be one of the SKIA delegates to the Three-Day Interfaith Dialogue in Southern Christian College, Midsayap, North Cotabato. This program was participated in by different personalities from various sectors of the society all over the Philippines. Aside from the interfaith dialogue itself, the delegates were also immersed to different Muslim, Christian and Lumad communities in North Cotabato. This activity served as an eye-opener to Mr. Tiboron to the reality, as far as peace and order situation in Southern Philippines is concerned. 

Youth for United World (YUW)
            After the said program, Hadja Bai Mastura advised the SKIA delegates to form an organization that will work hand in hand with ACRP in sustaining its activities in the school and nearby communities.  Hence, the Youth for United World (YUW) was organized. Being a newly-formed association, its advisers decided that the first set of officers will be selected through appointment. At this time, unknown to him, Mr. Tiboron, the youngest of all the delegates, was unanimously appointed as president. This opened a very challenging chapter in his leadership life, considering that ACRP's YUW was not just dealing with small entities but with giant names like Focolare Movement and Tuklas Katutubo Movement which are known nationwide in the field of working out for peace and solidarity. He had successfully led the organization for one year, and had turned the responsibility over his successor in office after his term. 

Considering his academic standing, leadership experiences in his school and community and involvement with the activities of known organizations in Central Mindanao like Muslim Youth Brotherhood, Inc. and United Youth for Peace and Development, Inc., Mr. Tiboron made it to be one of the 26 youth delegates out of hundreds of applicants of the Training Program on Inter-Ethnic Dialogue and Conflict Resolution under the Philippine Youth Leadership Program/Access to Community and Civic Enrichment for Students (PYLP/ACCESS). The program was held in Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois, U.S.A  last April-May, 2005, involving leadership training, inter-faith dialogue, interactive lectures discussions and educational tour. The program had inspired more Mr. Tiboron to be an agent of positive change in the society he is within. It had widened his viewpoints, eradicated his biases and prejudices against people belonging to other groups and enriched his skills and enhanced his strategies as a leader.

In the said program, the delegates were asked to formulate action plans that would be implemented upon return in the Philippines. Mr. Tiboron presented his plans with YUW people as his primary workforce. 

Voice of the Youth for Peace Organization (VYPO) 

Surprisingly as it was, YUW was already inactive upon his return in the Philippines.  Most of its pioneering members, after having graduated in college, were already quite busy in their respective careers and could not anymore commit. Because of the absence of the proper authority to which Mr. Tiboron could seek an approval for the implementation of his action plans, he, deviated from his original plan of having YUW as workforce. Instead, he conceived an idea of having an organization that would primarily assist him in the implementation of his action plans. He presented his plans to his classmates and friends who occupied positions in the school's big organizations-Preparatory Military Training and Student Body Organization. His classmates and friends he had talked with did not hesitate to give their support. Thus, Mr. Tiboron's spirit as a leader had been triggered more to pursue his plan of having a new organization. He prepared the necessary documents and presented the proposal to the Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance of SKIA, Datu Ismael V. Mastura. The proposal was approved and the organization was launched on June 23, 2005 in the Vocational Technology Building of SKIA with Voice of the Youth for Peace Organization (VYPO) as its name. All SKIA constituents attended the launching and impressive number of students got interest in joining the organization.

Another twist in Mr. Tiboron’s action plans took place after consulting some of the school officials, religious figures in his community and family members and relatives. Instead of integrating Muslims, Christians and Lumads into his action plans as recommended by PYLP/ACCESS and retaining the interfaith nature of ACRP-YUW, Mr. Tiboron, primarily emphasized in VYPO the significance of Islam as far as Moro people are concerned in his walk towards a peaceful and progressive Southern Philippines. Accordingly, being born Moros, nothing can enlighten them but Islam. Thus, it is but right to blend the organization's approaches with Islamic ways to make the majority of the students and people in his Moro-occupied community conform to his advocacy. The advocacy of VYPO might have been centering its focus on programs for Moro people but this does not close its mindset with the idea of having harmonious co-existence with the non-Moros. The Moro people, being the central figure of conflict in Southern Philippines need this unique way for them to become enlightened, empowered and well-developed enough, making them true Muslims who should live lives peacefully and progressively amidst diversity in terms of different aspects in the societies they are within.

2006 VYPO Extensions

As years went by, the name of the organization was changed into Voice of the Youth for Peace and Orderliness (VYPO) then into United Voices for Peace Network (UVPN). Along with this change is the gradual growth and development that happened in just few years. It has been impressively active in conducting Islamic symposiums and seminars, peace workshops, leadership trainings, tutorial programs, relief operations and other community outreach programs. From SKIA, the organization has also now been extended to the communities of Cotabato City and Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and other schools and universities which include Mindanao State University-Main Campus in Marawi City. The organization’s enriching and inspiring activities have revitalized and kindled the spirits of the active Moro student leaders in the said university coming from different places making them committed and active members of it. By this, the organization has found an opportunity to extend its various projects to the places where its MSU-Main Campus chapter members are living like  Davao, Lanao, Palawan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga areas.


Today, many other organizations in and outside the country have recognized the existence of the organization like ABS-CBN Corporation, UGAT Foundation, Inc., U.S. Embassy in Manila, Cotabato Inter-Communal Initiatives,  Mabuhay Club Singapore, Muslim Youth Union of the Philippines, Muslim Youth Brotherhood, Inc., United Youth for Peace and Develoipment, Inc., Risalei Nur-Philippines, Ginakit Philippines Foundation, Inc., Muslim Youth Religious Organization and many more. The organization has successfully established connections that are highly significant in carrying out all of its noble endeavors.

Being spiritually inspired by “Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls)”-13: 11, and “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong:they are the ones who attain felicity” -3:104 of the HOLY QUR’ANUVPN will continue to voice out and work for the enlightenment, empowerment and development of the Bangsamoro People in order to eradicate the biases, prejudices, discrimination and stereotypes that the eyes of the world see upon them-which may lead in attaining PEACE and PROGRESS  with the help of ALMIGHTY ALLAH S.W.T.

Productive Muslim

Haq Islam


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