Feuding Maguindanao clans smoke proverbial peace pipe PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 June 2014 16:48

The Sarosong and Mohmin families, locked in a 17-year clan war that exacted a total of 27 fatalities on both sides, had never thought they can ever live in peace again as relatives until they signed a truce before a Qur’an last Friday.

The bloody clan war, called “rido” in the local vernacular, between Maguindanao’s Sarosong and Mohmin families, related to each other by blood and are both of Moro Iranon ancestry, was one of five family feuds settled amicably over the weekend by Maguindanao's multi-sectoral, inter-agency provincial peace and order council and the league of mayors in the province.

Leaders of the Sarosong and Mohmin families, and a third group, the Marandang family, which is a common enemy of the Sarosongs and Mohmins, and the rival Taug and Bantilan families, signed separate compacts in the presence of officials led by Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu.

The conflicts involving the newly-reconciled clans stemmed from political rivalries and squabbles for control of lands that resulted to attacks that challenged each other's “maratabat,” which means family pride and honor.

More than 10 members of the Taug and Bantilan families perished in their 11-year rido, where both sides repeatedly figured in gunfights that caused the dislocation of dozens of families.

Representatives of the five families had told reporters and witnesses to the reconciliation rite, held at a private resort in Tacurong City, that they agreed to mend their differences through the joint intercession of Mangudadatu and emissaries of Brig. Gen. Edmund Pangilinan, the newly-installed commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

The 6th ID has jurisdiction over Maguindanao, including its six predominantly ethnic Iranon municipalities in the first district of the province, which accounts for most number of existing clan wars involving local Moro families, some of them identified with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Maguid Sarosong, a signatory to their peace accord with the Mohmins, said their decision to have their rido with a rival family settled the traditional way was in support of the efforts of the government to foster normalcy in areas covered by the newly-signed GPH-MILF Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

“We did not hesitate to let the governor, with the help of the police and the military, settle this rido because he is not a party to the conflict and did not take sides,” Usman Marandang told reporters in Filipino.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, in an emailed official communiqué, lauded the Maguindanao provincial government, the regional police office of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the 6th ID for helping each other address clan wars in the province.

The Maguindanao provincial government has settled more than 30 clan wars since 2010, according to Chief Supt. Noel Delos Reyes, director of the ARMM police.

Members of the Sarosong, Mohmin, Marandang, Taug and Bantilan families sealed their reconciliation, initiated  in the presence of provincial officials and the mayors in their respective towns, with a “duwah,” an Islamic thanksgiving prayer jointly led by clerics that helped facilitate the symbolic rite.