Thursday Dec, 07 2023 02:35:22 PM

Candidates identified with MNLF win aspired posts 

Mindanao Peace Process • 05:15 AM Wed Nov 1, 2023
John Felix Unson
The Bangsamoro regional government is still monitoring the outcome of the elections in the six provinces under its jurisdiction. (From Bangsamoro READi)

COTABATO CITY - Some 300 aspirants in the Bangsamoro region for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan posts identified with the Moro National Liberation Front got elected on Monday, for peace advocates beneficial to the southern peace process.

Local government officials in the autonomous region are expecting the proclamation within the next 36 hours of no fewer than 200 more winning candidates who are either children or relatives of MNLF leaders in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

In this city alone, a senior member of the MNLF, Datun S. Diocolono, was elected uncontested as chairman of Barangay Tamontaka 5 while four others, who are closely related to leaders of the front, conveniently got to the helm of the barangay governments in Poblacion 8, Rosary Heights 7, Rosary Heights 11 and Mother Tamontaka via wide leads in the tally of votes canvassed after Monday’s polling in different school campuses.

Mohammad Ali Jawawi A. Sema, son of MNLF chairman Muslimin G. Sema, who is labor and employment secretary of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, had been proclaimed winner in the two-cornered race for barangay chairman of Mother Tamontaka here.

Barangay Mother Tamontaka, along the Tamontaka River that springs from the upland Liguasan Delta and drains in the west coast of this city, is a historic settlement established in the 18th century by Spaniards and where Spanish Jesuit missionaries, subsequently, built a chapel about a century later, now a landmark.

“The election of candidates who are either from the MNLF, or who are close to us and understand the peace and development goals of our group is a blessing. It augurs well with our efforts to expand our peace initiatives down into the barangays,” a member of the MNLF's central committee, Hatimil E. Hassan, deputy speaker in the 80-seat Bangsamoro regional parliament, said.

He said a number of candidates in Basilan who are actively supporting the peace efforts of the MNLF and the national government got elected in Monday’s barangay ang Sangguniang Kabataan elections. 

MNLF officials in Sulu who are also members of the regional parliament told reporters here Tuesday that more than a hundred candidates in the province from clans whose leaders are members of the front had won the positions they aspired for.

The BARMM covers the provinces of Maguindanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and the cities of Lamitan, Marawi and Cotabato, where there is a strong MNLF presence, besides the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, whose chairman, Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, is BARMM’s chief minister.

The MNLF and Malacañang crafted on September 2, 1996 a final peace deal, a product of drawn out peace talks that started with the forging by both sides of the December 23, 1976 Tripoli Agreement in Libya.

In a statement Tuesday, Gerry Salapuddin, the administrator of the Southern Philippines Development Authority, called on elected barangay and SK officials who are either members or supporters of the MNLF to cooperate in protecting the dividends of Malacañang's peace overtures with the Moro communities that aims to address poverty and underdevelopment in southern provinces caused by decades of secessionist strife.

“Cooperation among us towards that goal will hasten the attainment of lasting peace in our homeland,” Salapuddin said. 


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