ARMM politicians start ‘quarrel free’ campaign PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 13:38

The launching of the Liberal Party’s campaign in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, via separate sorties in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur provinces, was markedly bereft of mudslinging ARMM folks have grown so tired about.

Peace activists, among them various blocs helping push the Mindanao peace process forward, are hoping the new campaign style will continue until the actual polling day on May 9.

“This is a good sign, an indication that we are now gradually graduating from hostile politics. This kind of campaigning should set the pace for peaceful and orderly elections in the autonomous region this May 2016 and beyond,” said Hatimil Hassan of the Moro National Liberation Front, former member of ARMM’s Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA).

Pete Marquez, a senior official of different business organizations in Central Mindanao, said while their clubs are non-partisan, they favor the conduct of campaign sorties, regardless of the party affiliations of organizers, that are free from satirical discourses and verbal attacks on rivals.

“This is something very positive for us. This will create the impression among our contacts in the business communities abroad that there are now big improvements in the local political arena. This must continue,” Marquez said.

Based on estimates by local officials and security authorities, some 9,000 to 11,000 barangay leaders and LP campaigners from across Maguindanao’s 36 towns converged on Monday at the municipal gymnasium in Buluan town in Maguindanao for the proclamation of the candidacy of reelectionist Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, Vice Gov. Lester Sinsuat and aspirants for seats in the provincial board and the RLA.

LP’s candidates for provincial elective posts, led by Mangudadatu, were proclaimed by administration presidential bet Leni Robredo, the party’s regional figurehead, reelectionist ARMM Gov, Mujiv Hataman and his running mate, Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman.

The event was also attended by LP senatorial candidates Ina Ambolodto, Leila de Lima and representatives of reelectionist Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona.

Hataman and Lucman started on Saturday in Ganassi town in Lanao del Sur their campaign without fiery speeches that could annoy rival political camps, a total turnaround from the traditional campaign style of politicians in the region which voters have seen in past electoral exercises.

At least 17 of the 22 mayors in the second district of Lanao del Sur province joined Saturday’s launching of LP’s regional campaign in Ganassi town in the second district of the province.

Almost all of the 116 mayors in the autonomous region, which covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in Central Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, are members of LP.

Lucman, himself a Maranaw from Bayang town, said he and Hataman received a cordial reception at the venue of their first ever regional political activity in Ganassi from Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr. and his constituent-mayors.

Mangudadatu, who spoke lengthily during Monday’s LP event in Buluan about peace and governance issues, did not even appear antagonized  by  recent attempts on his life, including the foiled detonation of an improvised explosive device at the venue of a dialogue in South Upi town he was supposed to preside last week.

“Soldiers sent to clear the area found there an IED made up of a 105 Howitzer cannon round attached to a blasting mechanism. I will just leave everything to Allah,” he said.

He called on LP candidates for municipal positions to refrain from attacking their political adversaries during their community engagements.

More than 20 of the 36 mayors in the province attended Monday’s LP political sortie in Buluan, the capital of Maguindanao.

Susana Anayatin, chairperson for Maguindanao of the National Movement for Free Elections, said it is by campaigning peacefully, focusing only on dialogues about good governance and poverty-alleviation programs,  that politicians can help ensure a peaceful conduct of elections on May 9.

“Without irritants that can affect rival camps, tension shall be minimized and gradual political maturity will be achieved eventually,” Anayatin said.

Mangudadatu’s younger sibling, Khadafe Mangudadatu, who is seeking a third term as representative of the second district of Maguindanao to the RLA, said he is glad with how senior LP officials in ARMM and in Maguindanao started campaigning without mudslinging.

“This is the best way to show to people in Luzon, in Metro Manila and in the Visayas that we are struggling hard here to address feudal politics through reforms in political contests,” Assemblyman Mangudadatu said.

The Mangudadatu siblings, among them Mayor Freddie Mangudadatu of Pandag town, who is president of the league of mayors in the province, are staunch allies of Hataman and Lucman.

The Mangudadatus and the two reelectionist ARMM officials have overtly been supporting the on-going peace overture between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, whose normalization agenda is partly focused in the restoration of political tranquility in conflict-wracked areas in the proposed Bangsamoro core territory.