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Hataman, Tan meet, forge pact for peaceful ARMM polls

 • 02:11 AM Sun Apr 24, 2016
John Unson
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman (right) reached out to rival Sulu Vice Gov. Sakur Tan during a chance encounter at the Manila airport last Wednesday. (JOHN UNSON)

COTABATO CITY -- Reelectionist Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Saturday said the May 9 ARMM elections should only be democratic exercise, not a deep-seated competition for political superiority among local ethnic groups.The candidacy for a second term of Hataman, a Yakan from Basilan, is being challenged by Sulu Vice Gov. Sakur Tan, who is of Tausug-Chinese lineage.Hataman on Wednesday met Tan by chance at the airport in Manila and immediately offered the latter a handshake as a gesture of amity.Hataman had also assured the Sulu vice governor their rivalry is only all about politics and that their friendship should not be severed by the outcome of the May 9 race for ARMM’s governorship.Hataman’s bid for a second term, under the banner of the Liberal Party, is overtly being supported by the provincial governors and mayors in ARMM’s Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi provinces.Some of the 18 mayors in Sulu, a politically hostile ARMM province, are also openly campaigning for Hataman despite Tan’s being a Tausug and a province-mate.Sulu is not just underdeveloped economy-wise, but is also known throughout the world as a sanctuary of the Abu Sayyaf and a harboring site for its captives snatched in nearby Philippine provinces and abroad. Our political differences must not be an `irritant’ among ARMM’s ethnic groups. We all belong to the proud Bangsamoro race,” Hataman said after his accidental interface with Tan.Tan’s running mate is Haron Bandila, who hails from the First district of Maguindanao.Hataman is aspiring for a second term in tandem with the more popular and influential reelectionist ARMM Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, who is of Maranaw descent.Lucman is related by blood to the now outgoing, third termer Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr., and Hataman’s spouse, Sitti Djalia, representative of the Anak Mindanao Partylist, who is of mixed Yakan, Maranaw and Tausug ancestry.Lucman belongs to a Maranaw clan that fought the Marcos regime when the country was under martial law.His father, the late Rashid, then congressman of Lanao del Sur, was forced to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia as a consequence of his being rabidly opposed to the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos at that time.While in Saudi Arabia, the younger Lucman studied Arabic language and Islamic religion at the Umolqura University in Makkah, and, subsequently, pursued a linguistics course at the King Abdulazis University in Jeddah.Lucman had also studied law and earned a masters’ degree on environmental governance.Hataman said the May 9 elections should not set permanent barriers among ARMM’s culturally pluralistic Muslim, Christian and Lumad sectors. It is only by fusing our ranks together and allowing the convergence of our peace and spiritual ideals can our aspiration for self-governance, through genuine autonomy, become strong,” Hataman said.Hataman first got to the helm of the ARMM government as an appointed caretaker in December 2011. He got elected as the region’s eighth duly-mandated chief executive during the May 13, 2013 regional elections. Together, we strengthened the governance mechanisms of the ARMM government in the past four years, something we thought before as impossible. Let the May 9 elections give more momentum to that,” Hataman said.

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