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GMA's agrarian reform secretary now candidate for mayor of poor Lanao town

 • 05:14 AM Wed Mar 16, 2016
John Unson
Ex-Agrarian Reform Nasser Pangandaman

MARAWI CITY --- A member of the defunct cabinet of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is aspiring for the mayoral post of nearby Masiu town, facing a more influential opponent belonging to a bigger Maranaw clan.Nasser Pangandaman, who had served as secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) during the time of ex-President Arroyo, aims to replace his son, Nasser, Jr., whose third and last term as mayor of Masiu will end on June 30, 2016.Masiu is an impoverished town in the first district of Lanao del Sur, not far from the controversial Butig municipality, scene of last month’s deadly clashes between the military and local jihadists sympathetic to the Independent State of Iraq and Syria.Pangandaman’s candidacy is being challenged by a newcomer, Romil Mitmug Guiling, who belong to the local Maranaw nobility and is related by blood to the equally big Ranguiris clan in the same town.Community elders saidthe Guiling and Rangiris groups both wield clout over more than half of the 35 barangays in the municipality.Pangandaman aspired for the gubernatorial post of Lanao del Sur in 1995, but lost with an overwhelming vote margin to then reelectionist Gov.Mahid Mutilan.Pangandaman’s father, the late Lininding Pangandaman, was governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and political patriarch of ARMM when he flunked in his bid to wrest from Mutilan Lanao del Sur's highest elective post.A full-blooded Maranaw, Mutilan defeated the younger Pangandaman with a pitch on his being a mestiso,” having an Ilocana mother from Luzon.Barangay officials supporting Guiling have also been telling their constituents to vote for him for having purer Maranaw lineage than Pangandaman.Sources said local folks have also been ranting on what is for them failure of the Pangandamans to address poverty and underdevelopment besetting Masiu while they were at the helm of the ARMM government and the central office of DAR from 1993 to 1996 and during the time of President Arroyo, respectively.

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