Art by Gian Nicdao
The whole country is, to put it lightly, going through a lot in this political climate. (And the literal climate — God, this heat is oppressive.) But Mindanao is going through an especially interesting time. Martial law is in effect, and has been extended for a third time to last until the end of 2019. But the recently ratified Bangsamoro Organic Law is also in effect, which aims to provide a basic structure of government for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and empower the Bangsamoro people to self-organize and self-actualize. There is also the looming possibility of the country shifting to a federalist style of government which, on paper, might possibly help provinces and subsidiary governments develop and become more economically competitive.
That’s a lot to unpack, we know. So imagine how the youth of Mindanao must feel. They must contend with an uncertain present and future in a part of the Philippines that doesn’t get as much attention as Manila. What can the youth do? How can they realize their dreams, and react to all the things they’re beset by?
This brings us to Pitch Fest 2019, a project slash competition to find and empower Bangsamoro’s future youth business leaders. Young adult entrepreneurs entered to present their business ideas, and competed, with the winner gaining the chance to develop his idea with a boost of capital. The event was held in front of students in the gymnasium of Cotabato City State Polytechnic College, and was largely organized by the 1 Cooperative Insurance System of the Philippines.
But we have to thank, for bringing the Pitch Fest to Mindanao, the office of Bai Sandra A. Sema, one of the congresswomen primarily responsible for the filing and authorship of the Bangsamoro Organic Law. Measuring her political concerns is our gateway to seeing how the Pitch Fest and the Mindanao context intersect.