Lamitan brgy officials back GPH-MILF framework deal PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 03 November 2012 14:51

Breaking monotony, 38 barangay chairpersons from Lamitan City in the restive Basilan province on Tuesday pledged support to the newly-crafted framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Only key, high-ranking  public officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have been vocal of their support to the agreement, signed last October 15, until the Lamitan barangay officials met in Cotabato City Tuesday with ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman and, before him, acknowledged the need for them to spearhead the dissemination to the public of the GPH-MILF compact.

The barangay officials were led by Lamitan City Mayor Roderick Furigay and his spouse, Rosita, who is involved in local community projects complementing the government’s confidence-building measures with Lamitan’s Moro communities.

Furigay said all of their 45 barangay chairpersons in Lamitan would have joined the group that met with Hataman if not for prior commitments and meetings they are to attend somewhere else.

“Just the same, those not around have given their league president permission to assure the ARMM leadership of their support to President Aquino’s Mindanao peace efforts with the MILF,” Furigay told reporters.

The president of Lamitan City’s Liga ng mga Barangay, Mannan Sumampil, chairman one of the 45 barangays under Furigay’s jurisdiction, said they are hoping leaders of other villages in the ARMM’s more than a hundred towns will emulate their gesture.

Hataman and his chief-of-staff, foreign-trained corporate and political psychologist John Magno, tendered a “peace and solidarity banquet” for the Lamitan barangay officials at the Office of the Regional Governor here in recognition of their peace efforts.

Hataman and Magno, who hail from Basilan’s Sumisip and Maluso towns, respectively, both expressed confidence the efforts of the 38 barangay officials will boost the ARMM’s  initiative  of generating public support to the GPH-MILF framework agreement.

“This collective act by barangay officials from Lamitan is something extra-ordinary. This show of support to the framework agreement is coming directly from leaders of the grassroots communities that will benefit from the government-MILF peace initiative,” Hataman said.

Sumampil said they have “grown sick and tired” of witnessing conflicts ravaging Yakan, Tausog, Samah, Visayan and Chavacano communities in Basilan since the early ‘70s.

Hataman said he is overwhelmed by the continuing outpouring of support for the GPH-MILF framework deal from different sectors in the autonomous region.

Four of the barangay officials from Lamitan were women, who also took turns expressing their support to the framework agreement.

“We have been seeing how the women in Basilan continue to suffer from the Moro rebellion that started four decades ago,” said Mercedita Villarin, chair of Barangay Bulingan.

Barangay Bulingan is now being frequented by local Muslim and non-Muslim tourists for its scenic Bulingan waterfalls.

Villarin said leaders of the women sector in Lamitan City ought to help educate the public on the intricacies and ramifications of the framework agreement.

Basilan Gov. Jum Akbar, widow of the former congressional representative of the island province, the late Wahab Akbar, was among the public officials in the autonomous region that were first to pledge support to the newly-crafted GPH-MILF peace deal.