Maguindanao politicians hold post-election peace gathering PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 May 2013 11:09

Representatives of the police, the military, the religious communities and the Liberal Party in Maguindanao on Tuesday prayed together for the reunification of feudal camps that pitted candidates for various posts in the province during the recent elections.

Brig. Gen. Manuel Gapuz, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, called on politicians during a traditional “kanduli,“ or thanksgiving rite, in Maguindanao’s Buluan town to start reconciling immediately to hasten their implementation of local projects complementing the Mindanao peace process.

The religious event was attended by some 2,000 community elders, representatives of various civil society organizations, and barangay officials from the first and second districts of Maguindanao

Gafuz also called on local communities to support the efforts of local officials in “tuning down” the animosities sparked by the recent election period, which created factional divides among politicians and even among closely-knit clans supposedly bound by blood ties.

The kanduli rite, organized by Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, provincial chairman of LP, was attended by two members of the United Nationalist Alliance, the re-elected provincial board member Mike Midtimbang, and his relative, Rene Midtimbang, newly-elected member of the 24-member Regional Legislative Assembly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“Let us make the province as progressive as it can so that more investors would come for an enduring peace and prosperity to come in too,” Gapuz told political leaders present in the prayer gathering.

Mangudadatu and the newly-elected Maguindanao vice governor, Lester Sinsuat, also an LP member, both assured their defeated rivals that they are not to harbor any grudge against them.

They both emphasized that elections are only community exercises and that the decision of voters ought to be respected, being the only source of mandate to run public offices.

“I don’t keep any hatred in my heart. I will ignore the pains caused by the fiery campaign sorties during the campaign period for the sake of peace and unity of Maguindanao’s so-called tri-people, the Moro sectors, the Christians and the highland tribes, or lumad groups,” Mangudadatu said.

Represented to the kanduli by his subordinate-officers, Chief Supt. Noel Delos Reyes, police director of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, told reporters in an emailed statement that the gathering was a tacit indication of the preparedness of local executives to reunite.

“It is something positive. If people see them unite cohesively and work together as a family, their constituents will surely follow suit and emulate their gestures of amity,” Delos Reyes said.

A sibling of the re-elected Maguindanao governor, ARMM Assemblyman Khadafy Mangudadatu, who was also elected to a third term in the region’s “little Congress,” said politicians in the province also ought to thank the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for standing pat with its promise to stay neutral during the May 13 polls.

The province has 36 towns, more than half of them controlled politically by LP members. Administration candidates virtually clobbered the opposition in all of five ARMM provinces during the May 13 electoral exercise.