PNoy sees more peaceful Moro communities in LP politicians turf PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 10:46

President Aquino is satisfied with how his constituent-leaders in predominantly Moro areas have been supporting his peace overture with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Aquino, who was in Buluan town in Maguindanao Friday, told some 70,000 supporters of re-electionist Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman that they both deserve to be elected owing to their active involvement in various projects complementing the Mindanao peace process.

The President was in Buluan to endorse the candidacy of Hataman for ARMM governor and Mangudadatu’s re-election bid under the Liberal Party.

The President made a pitch for Mangudadatu’s campaign by mentioning the feats of the provincial government in reconciling feuding clans and in implementing its scholarship program for poor children dubbed Maguindanao Province Educational Assistance for Community Empowerment.

He also cited the provincial government’s continuing dispersal of palm oil and rubber tree seedlings to farmers, many of them MILF members, to hasten agricultural productivity in all of the 36 towns in the province, as among the reasons why voters should re-elect Mangudadatu.

The President said one major reason to re-elect Mangudadatu is his having moved on from the stigma of the November 23, 2009 “Maguindanao Massacre” without perpetrating vendetta retaliations on members of the Ampatuan clan whose leaders are now jailed for allegedly masterminding the carnage.

Mangudadatu’s wife, Genalyn, his sister, and several other relatives were among the 58 people that perished in the carnage, more than half of them journalists.

The victims were on their way to the provincial capitol in Shariff Aguak town to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy for governor during the May 13, 2010 polls when they were flagged down by gunmen in Barangay Salman in Ampatuan municipality, herded into a nearby hill and, there, mowed with assault rifles and machineguns.

Aquino said instead of retaliating to avenge such an affront to the pride and honor of the Mangudadatu clan, he focused on improving governance in a province where people have never experienced political democracy before he got elected as governor in 2010.

President Aquino also endorsed the candidacy of Mangudadatu’s running mate, vice gubernatorial bet Lester Sinsuat, mayor of Datu Odin Sinsuat town in the first district of Maguindanao.

Mangudadatu’s re-election bid is being contested by Sultan Kudarat Mayor Tucao Mastura, who is the provincial figurehead of the United Nationalist Alliance.

The President also campaigned for the LP’s candidate for ARMM vice governor, lawyer Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, and Cotabato City Vice-Mayor Muslimin Sema, whose moniker, “peacemaker” he repeatedly mentioned in his speech during the party’s political sortie at the Buluan municipal gymnasium.

Also an LP stalwart, Sema, who is aspiring for the mayoral post of Cotabato City, is chairman of the largest and most politically active of at least three factions in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The President said Sema, spouse of re-electionist Maguindanao First District Rep. Sandra Sema, has also been supportive of the Mindanao peace process.

“Palagay ko naman po mga boss ko sa Cotabato City, maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw, dapat kay Muslimin Sema tayo,” Aquino said.

He said Sema has also been supporting Malacañang’s peace initiatives in Moro communities.

“So ang punto ko, si Muslimin Sema alam na ho natin kabahagi sya ng MNLF, nung nagkaroon tayo ng Sajahatra, kasama natin na talagang publikong sinabi ang pagsuporta nila dito sa paghuhubog ng ating Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. Kaya po nabansagang talaga namang peacemaker,” President Aquino pointed out.

The Sajahatra program is a convergence of government services for Moro communities in areas which the MILF wants to group together into a new autonomous political entity to be named Bangsamoro, replacing the ARMM.

The program was launched personally by President Aquino in Sultan Kudarat town in the first district of Maguindanao last February.