The Civil Relations Service Armed Forces of the Philippines (CRS AFP) will be holding an international conference to tackle issues on violent extremist organizations involving the youth in Asian countries.
Titled “Youth and Terrorism: Countering the Narrative,” the multi-lateral international working group to counter violent extremism is scheduled to be held in Palawan in the 1st quarter of 2015 in a bid to strengthen cooperative policy-making objectives with the Philippines’ allied nations.
The objective of this working group conference is to develop and enhance various approaches in countering violent extremism by sharing and examining participating nation’s best practices, successes, and failures. It also aims to provide a venue for discussing issues of regional concern to develop collaborative public service initiatives to empower the youth against violent extremist organizations.
Spearheaded by the AFP Civil-Military Operations School, CRS AFP with the participation of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia and USA, the event was conceptualized to enhance the competency and capacity build-up of agencies involved in the participating countries.
Maj. Jo-ar Herrera, head of the AFP CMO School, CRS AFP, said the conference aims to explore the psychological make-up and behavioural patterns of the Asian youth who are susceptible to terrorism.
The conference will integrate various police and military agencies, NGOs, academic institutions on the counterterrorism front in coordination with the Law Enforcement and Security Integration Office and Philippine Center for Transnational Crime, under the Office of the President.
In February 2013, a conference entitled “Trilateral Conference on Counter-Violence and Radicalization (CVR) Efforts in the Counterterrorism Front” was held at Seda Hotel in Bonifacio Global City, Philippines to provide a mechanism for improving interagency linkages and coordination among organizations from international, regional, and local levels in addressing the complexities of terrorism.
Providing an avenue for the strategic exchange of informative dialogues, skills, expertise and best practices, the foreseen opportunity to align and integrate varying techniques in policy-making, procedures, and decision-making, the conference explored the development of synergy and compatibility among the participating countries.
Among the Philippine agencies, which participated in this convention include the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission, Philippine Center for Transnational Crime (PCTC), Law Enforcement and Security Integration Office (LESIO), and the Anti-terrorism Council Program Management Center (ATC-PMC).
To further develop relationships among neighboring countries and enhance various approaches to countering violent extremism, a succeeding assembly was held at Sintesa Peninsula Hotel in Manado, Indonesia on November 2013 to address counter terrorism measures throughout Southeast Asia.
The conference in Indonesia, which has set the stage for a “Multilateral Countering Violent Extremism Working Group” included the participation of the newly formed Cambodian National Counterterrorism Committee, and the Royal Thai Army.
From a simple roundtable discussion between the Philippines and the United States Armed Forces, to an expanded multinational cooperation among Southeast Asian countries and the United States, the AFP CMO School headed by Herrera has been successful in advocating the virtues of public diplomacy and international relations in accordance with the principles of the AFP’s Internal Peace Strategic Plan Bayanihan.
“With the continuous determination for local and international collaborations, we are able to work progressively towards the valued goal of winning the peace through the hearts and minds of the people,” Herrera said.
An Asia 21 fellow of Asia Society, Herrera, has been actively engaging with various organizations across Asia, America and Europe in addressing terrorism involving the youth. He plays an active role in advising government agencies and NGO’s on strategic communication programs and collaborates capstone programs focusing on transnational issues.
With a vision to create models in conflict resolution and management, he authored a paper titled ”Legal Pluralism and the Dynamics of Winning Peace in Mindanao,” published in May 2012 at “The Dynamics of Security and of International Relations” International Conference at Carol I National Defense University in Bucharest, Romania. This paper examines the prospects for creating a just and peaceful environment amidst the complexities of security issues between the government and its constituents. The paper also provides an extensive analysis of lessons learned from resolving conflict and approaches to winning lost-lasting peace.