Moro folks sympathize with Typhoon Yolanda victims PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 10:45

Moro and Christian communities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao are mourning the demise of the victims of last week’s deadly onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas and other parts of the country.

“We share the feeling of pain and loss. Now is the time not to lose hope. Lets us unite and help each other rise from the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda,” ARMM Gov, Mujiv Hataman said Monday.

The ARMM, which covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in mainland Mindanao, the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi, has four million residents, 70 percent of them Muslims.

Hataman said they will also “tone down” their long commemoration of the ARMM’s 24thfounding anniversary, which started November 6, slated to end on December 19, in sympathy with the communities affected by the typhoon.

Various cultural programs and sports activities have been lined up as highlights of the celebration, dubbed “Pakaradjaan sa ARMM.”

Hataman’s chief-of-staff, Amihilda Sangcopan, chairperson of the committee that oversees the Pakaradjaan feast, said regional officials helping manage the festivities will meet anytime soon to discuss the issue.

“It is not proper for us to push ahead with our festivities while our compatriots affected by the typhoon are in a very sad, miserable situation,” Hataman said.

Hataman has directed all of his subordinate-regional secretaries and heads of support offices under the Office of the Regional Governor, touted as “Little Malacanang” of the autonomous region, to initiate activities that can generate monetary and relief support for residents of typhoon-stricken areas in the Visayas.

Hataman had also called on the ARMM’s business community to extend assistance to typhoon victims.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, in an emailed statement, said he is also keen on making simple their Nov. 14 to 22 celebration of the 40th founding anniversary of the province in solidarity with residents of Tacloban City and other areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

“While we can’t totally depart from the strong Moro tradition of putting out our pride and honor in commemorating historic events such as founding anniversaries of our communities, we can do away with lavish merry-making to show our sympathy with the typhoon victims,” Mangudadatu said.

Mangudadatu described as “too shocking” for Maguindanao residents the television footage showing the extent of the damages left by the typhoon, even as most of them have long been callous with calamities, such as perennial flooding due to the proximity of their communities to the vast Liguasan Delta, which is the world’s largest marsh, and armed conflicts in years past.

“We even have to thank Allah because while we indeed had sad experiences brought about by past conflicts and calamities, we did not have so much deaths resulting from one calamity at one time as what happened last week in the Visayas,” Mangudadatu said.

Hataman and Mangudadatu had both urged Muslims in the ARMM and in Maguindanao, respectively, to offer special prayers for the recovery of the typhoon-affected communities during their Friday obligatory congregational prayer rites at the mosques.

“Faith, unity and cooperation as a people, regardless of religions and tribal identities will make us rise again,” Mangudadatu said.

Hataman said he had instructed his executive secretary, Laisa Alamia, to plan out how the ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Relief Team can extend help to residents of Tacloban City and surrounding areas.