Maguindanao mayor, district representative plan out projects PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 April 2013 11:07

It was the mayor of a Maguindanao town who is helping negotiate with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that first exemplified in the province how to do a peaceful sortie where even political rivals ended up agreeing to pursue more communal projects after the election period.

Even re-electionist Maguindanao First District Rep. Sandra Sema, who belongs to the Liberal Party, said she was impressed with the salvo of the political campaign of party mate North Upi Mayor Ramon Piang.

Seeking a second term unopposed, Piang, who is an ethnic Teduray timuay (chieftain), is a member of the government panel negotiating with the MILF.

Piang’s first campaign engagement at a mountain top tribal enclave in Remfes district in the western part of North Upi was a “peace and development dialogue” he and Sema jointly presided over, where residents freely talked about the issues and concerns besetting their communities.

“It was a nice dialogue. We haven’t heard of any attacks against rivals, or any kind of `political intrigue’ during the forum. There was free flow of ideas about governance, delivery of government services, and peace and security issues,” the chairman of Barangay Remfes, Ariel Layson, said.

Piang, during the forum, assured to campaign, along with his more than 30 constituent barangay chairpersons, for Sema, whose candidacy in previous elections he did not support owing to his alliance with former Maguindanao First District Rep. Didagen Dilangalen.

Sema defeated Dilangalen with a wide vote margin during the May 13, 2010 contest for the lone congressional seat in the province’s first district.

Local officials and Sema, during the forum, agreed to focus on a study meant to determine the viability of a fused complex irrigation networks in four areas in the hinterland town, the top corn producer in the province.

The plan is for the office of Sema and the local government unit of North Upi to draft a blueprint, along with the National Irrigation Administration, of irrigation networks covering four areas in the municipality — Matuber, parts of the town proper in Nuro district, Kamensawi, and the surroundings of the Upi Agricultural School, which is encircled by vast tracts of rice and corn farms covered by its research and farmland reservations.

Piang and Sema both agreed that instead of the usual “campaign promises” of more farm-to-market roads, it is wiser to engage local sectors in putting up functional irrigation projects to hasten  improvements in the economy of the municipality.

North Upi is the only municipality that own road-building equipment donated about a decade ago by the Japanese government, which the local government use for its local projects and in maintaining roads linking farming enclaves to its town center.

The governor of Maguindanao, Esmael Mangudadatu, told reporters he was elated with the outcome of the peaceful sortie initiated by Piang in his municipality.

“It’s worth emulating. We are glad to see mayors in the province shifting from the traditional style of irritating campaign sorties to peaceful dialogues to build consensus with voters on many vital issues, such as peace and sustainable development,” said Mangudadatu, who is provincial chairman of the Liberal Party.