Maguindanao provincial scholars join ‘Sagayan’ PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 February 2014 16:39






The more than 4,000 scholars of the Maguindanao Program for Educational Assistance for Community Empowerment (MagPEACE), some of them children of active Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members, will be involved in the February 1-14 Sagayan Festival in the province.

The participation of the scholars in the event is enable them to understand and appreciate the importance of governance, preservation of cultures and traditions, and fellowship in peace-building and in propagating religious solidarity among Maguindanao’s Moro, Christian and lumad residents.

The MagPEACE, which was started by Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu with only more than 700 scholars four years ago, now has more than 4,000 beneficiaries enrolled in different schools in Mindanao.

“They will converge during the `MagPEACEtahan,’ a special gathering for all our scholars on a designated day during the 14-day Sagayan Festival,” the governor said in en emailed statement.

Despite hostilities in two towns in the province, local executives are pushing through with activities for the Sagayan Festival, which began on February 1.

The Sagayan Festival, pioneered in 2010 by then newcomer Mangudadatu, is now a yearly event in the province.

The event aims to showcase the unique culture and traditions of ethnic Maguindanaons, and the investment and eco-tourism potentials of the province.

“All is set for the festival...”Mangudadatu said.

Mayors from the first and second districts of Maguindanao will participate in the Sagayan activities, he said.

“All of us, local officials, and our respective constituents are optimistic this event will correct the impressions among people in Visayas, in Metro Manila, and in Luzon that Maguindanao is a dangerous area. It is not a dangerous area,” Mangudadatu said.

Maguindanao means “people of the perennially flooded plains,” or the Moro communities that dwell along the 220,000-hectare Liguasan delta in Central Mindanao.

Brig. Gen. Edmund Pangilinan, commanding officer of the Army’s 601st Brigade, said they have deployed ample security teams around Buluan town, where the Sagayan activities are to be held.

The Sagayan is a centuries-old Maguindanaon war-and-courtship dance depicting the readiness of locales to defend their lands, their women and children, and Islam from all kinds of aggression.

Saturday’s start of the Sagayan Festival was capped with the launching of a trade fair along a national highway straddling through Buluan town.

Organizers are expecting foreign merchants planning to invest in the province to witness the Sagayan Festival.

The provincial government has also invited officials of embassies in Metro Manila of member-states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to attend the festival.