Maguindanao’s ALIM reaffirms support to prov’l leadership PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 April 2014 13:33

Leaders and peace activists from across Maguindanao comprising the “tri-people” Alliance of Lumads Iranons and Maguindanaons (ALIM) renewed their support to Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu’s leadership and agreed to intensify their patronage of the peace efforts of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Members of ALIM even gave credence to their commitments of support to the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) by pledging over the Qur’an to protect and nurture the gains of the GPH-MILF peace initiative.

The founding chairman of ALIM, Maguindanao Vice Gov. Lester Sinsuat, said they embarked on the “spiritual session” to allay public speculations sparked by rumors being spread by certain quarters that the bloc, a staunch supporter of the Mindanao peace process, had been weakened by irreconcilable political differences among members.

He said it would be difficult for them to support the peace process if people would believe in the rumors and, as consequence, lose their trust and confidence in ALIM as a peace-oriented organization.

The meeting of ALIM’s new and pioneer members at the Al-Nor Convention Center in Cotabato City on Tuesday afternoon was jointly presided over by Sinsuat and Mangudadatu.

The activity was attended by a senior ALIM member, North Upi Mayor Ramon Piang, an ethnic Teduray tribal chieftain, who, as member of the government’s peace panel, helped draft the wealth-and-power sharing annex to the government-MILF Oct. 15, 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro.

Sinsuat and Mangudadatu both reiterated to reporters, during the meeting, their commitment of support to the peace overture between the government and the MILF.

The CAB, which was signed by GPH chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, and her MILF counterpart, Muhaquer Iqbal, last March 27 in Malacañang, is the final peace deal between the government and the rebel group, a product of 17 years of  painstaking negotiations.

Sinsuat had repeatedly refuted, in a message to ALIM members and supporters, among them officials of various civil society organizations, what he called gossips that are being spread by certain camps, purporting that his alliance with Mangudadatu had been cut by irreconcilable administrative and political misunderstandings.

Sinsuat also denied mounting speculations he will contest the governor’s bid for a third term in 2016.

Sinsuat declined to comment when asked by reporters if “peace spoilers” could have spread the rumors, incensed by his being so outspoken, just like Mangudadatu, of his support to the on-going government-MILF effort to establish a new Bangsamoro political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao before the 2016 ARMM regional polls.

He said Mangudadatu, who is his uncle by blood, remains to be his political principal and that their solidarity have never been wedged even since they ran as a tandem, under the banner of the Liberal Party, during the May 13, 2013 local elections.

The appointed deputy governor of Maguindanao, Ramil Dilangalen, who helped organize Tuesday’s gathering, said one purpose of the event was to show the cohesive support of local officials and peace activists to the efforts of Malacanang and the MILF to foster lasting peace and development in Mindanao’s Moro communities, which both sides wants to group together under a new Bangsamoro political entity.

“We ought to thank our governor and our vice governor for exemplifying genuine unity even if the former is from the first district of Maguindanao, and the latter comes from the second district of the province, just for them to become effective in helping the government and MILF establish tranquility in our communities,” Dilangalen said.

Foreign-trained clerics officiated the traditional swearing over the Qur’an by the ALIM members, before representatives of different media outfits in Mindanao and in Metro Manila.

Dilangalen said Mangudadatu was elated with the participation of new ALIM members to the ritual, among them local officials from the second district of the province.

Among the new Alim members that participated in the ritual were Board Members Bobby Katambak of the second district of Maguindanao, and Asnawi Sinsuat Limbona, and Russman Sinsuat, Jr., both from the first district of the province.

The ALIM started in 2013 with only local officials from the first district of Maguindanao as its members.