Barangay election in troubled Maguindanao town to push through PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 October 2013 11:03

The Maguindanao provincial peace and order council (PPOC) and the Commission on Elections are confident the October 28 barangay elections in Talitay town will be administered  as scheduled, but under tight security and with the help of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The MILF, through its ceasefire committee, mobilized early this week 300 guerillas to separate the two feuding rebel groups in Talitay, whose October 10-12 encounters dislocated more than a thousand families and forced municipal Comelec employees to leave the town.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, presiding chairman of the PPOC, said provincial election supervisor Udtog Tago, who is now in full control, has contingency plans on how to ensure a safe conduct of the barangay polls in Talitay.

“The police, the military and the MILF are now cooperating along that line, through the government and the MILF’s joint ceasefire committee,” Mangudadatu said.

Local officials said the two groups thrice fought on October 11, leaving three guerillas dead and three others wounded.

The hostilities forced hundreds of Moro families to evacuate to neutral grounds. More than a thousand families were dislocated in the first encounter of the two MILF groups just before noontime of October 10.

The skirmishes between the rival MILF groups started in the morning of October 10 with the fatal ambush of three security escorts of Talitay Mayor Montasir Sabal by members of the MILF’s 105th Base Command led by a certain Kagui Buisan.

The ambushers also shot the relatives of the mayor’s slain security men when they approached to retrieve the cadavers of the victims, provoking another firefight.

Relatives of the ambush victims, mostly active members of the MILF’s 106th Base Command, joined the foray and engaged Buisan’s group in a three-hour running firefight.

Mangudadatu said the situation in Talitay has started returning to normal.

He said he is confident the October 28 barangay elections in the area can be held as scheduled.

Mangudadatu said there are also enough soldiers and policemen positioned in strategic areas in Talitay.

“They are ready to prevent any re-engagement of the feuding MILF groups, apart from the peacekeeping mission of the contingent the MILF central leadership sent to Talitay early this week,” Mangudadatu said.