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Deles, Ferrer tours ARMM tribal villages

 • 20:01 PM Thu Jul 23, 2015
John Unson
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles (center) performs the centuries-old pangalay dance with officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (john Unson)

COTABATO CITY -- They sipped native coffee together in a tribal village and danced the pangalay on Wednesday night to show solidarity with officials struggling to preserve the ethnic identities of southern tribal communities.Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles and government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer readily performed the pangalay on the behest of officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao while at the mock Sulu enclave in the ARMM compound here.The pangalay is a centuries-old dance of the Tausug and Samah people, a traditional highlight in special events, weddings and other social and political gatherings.Deles and Ferrer, chair of the GPH panel dealing with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, are in Cotabato City since Wednesday morning for dialogues with stakeholders in the government’s diplomatic dealings with the MILF.The office of ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman has been showcasing since the June 18 to July 17 Ramadan fasting season the customs and traditions of local groups through the model Tausug, Yakan, Samah, Iranun, Maguindanao and Maranaw villages in the regional government’s 32-hectare compound southeast of Cotabato City. The Ramadan ended on July 17 with the celebration of the Eid’l Fit’r, the culmination of the month-long fasting season, where Muslims abstain from food and drinks at daytime both as a religious obligation and a form of sacrifice as reparation for wrongdoings.Deles and Ferrer danced the pangalay with ARMM’s public works secretary, Engineer Don Mustapha Loong, who is the designated chieftain of the Tausug village, regional executive secretary Laisa Alamia, and the region’s local government undersecretary, Sharifa Pearlsia Ali-Dans.The two visiting dignitaries told ARMM employees they were fascinated with the cultures and traditions of the region’s culturally-pluralistic communities.Deles said she was elated too with how the Hataman administration is supporting the Mindanao peace process via projects meant to bolster the cordiality between Malacañang and the ARMM’s tri-people,” which groups together the region’s Muslim, Christian and lumad sectors.Hataman and Loong are presently implementing, through the region's eight district engineering offices, about P10 billion worth of infrastructure projects designed to expedite ARMM's socio-economic growth in support of the normalization thrust of the government and the MILF.Amihilda Sangcopan, ARMM’s agrarian reform secretary, said the activities in the model villages will continue beyond Ramadan and the Eid feast with Hataman’s support.Sangcopan, who is a Tausug, said Hataman, a Yakan from Basilan, is keen on educating the public on the cultural diversity among ARMM’s ethnic groups that are bound together by a common faith, Islam.Islam was introduced into the country’s southern islands and in Central Mindanao during the 14th century by Arab preacher Sheik Karimul Makdum and a Malay prince from Johore, Mohammad Kabunsuan, respectively.

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