Maguindanao 2nd Sagayan Fest ends in ‘peace’ backdrop PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 17 February 2013 14:07

A contingent from a hinterland town under a mayor who is involved in the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front emerged as champion in Thursday’s Maguindanao “Sagayan Festival” cultural street dance competition.

The entry of North Upi town, home to mixed Maguindanaon, ethnic Teduray and Christian communities, fascinated judges for its depiction of “tri-people” cooperation in preserving peace and stability among settlers through centuries-old traditional community peace-building practices.

The mayor of North Upi, Ramon Piang, who is seeking re-election unopposed under the banner of the administration’s Liberal Party, is a member of the government’s peace panel negotiating with the MILF.

Piang said their performers, mostly adolescents, are always taught of the importance of teamwork, and cultural and religious solidarity to achieve perfection in all of their performances.

“Peace and development can only be achieved if we adhere to the tenets of teamwork and cooperation. Gladly, this is now happening in Maguindanao,” said Piang, who is an ethnic Teduray chieftain.

The Sagayan Festival, pioneered in 2012 by the office of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, is now a yearly activity of the provincial government, meant to showcase the unique cultures and traditions of residents in all of the 36 towns in the province.

“It is also meant to show how we in the province are now rising from the devastations caused by `violent politics’ and from armed conflicts that ravaged the province in past years,” the governor told reporters.

One of the objectives of the Sagayan Festival, according to Mangudadatu, is to foster camaraderie among participating Moro children and adolescents from different towns in the first and second districts of the province.

Mangudadatu and the ARMM’s regional governor, Mujiv Hataman, both participated in Thursday’s open field merry-making that capped the culmination program for the Sagayan Festival, held in Buluan town.

This year’s Sagayan Festival, which also featured traditional Moro games, officially started February 10 and ended Thursday.

The Sagayan fluvial parade contest was won by the entry of the local government of the Mangudadatu municipality, whose float, draped with traditional Moro flaglets, carried passengers that played antique brass gongs, clad in colorful cultural attires.

About 90 percent of the performers from different Maguindanao towns that participated in various cultural presentations were Maguindanaon, Iranon and Teduray school children.

Piang said he is delighted with how local officials in the province have been helping each other push forward the peace and security agenda of the provincial government, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

OPAPP has more than a dozen projects in the province which are being implemented by the office of the governor.