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Lawmaker honored by Army for peace efforts in Maguindanao

John Unson (Philstar.com) - September 14, 2015 - 11:11pm

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - The Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID) had set a precedent ? first ever in its 28-year history when it granted honors to a lawmaker supporting peace-building activities of soldiers in Maguindanao.

Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of 6th ID, on Tuesday said they officiated honor rites for Maguindanao Rep. Sandra Sema, while clad in Army uniform, last Saturday for her involvement in various activities propagating unity among her Muslim and Christian constituents.

Sema, a teacher, was listed as lieutenant-colonel in the roster of Philippine Army reservists on Feb. 15, 2013, after completing a masteral security administration degree at the National Defense College.

“This is our way of saying thank you for her untiring support to the 6th ID’s peace-building activities and to the military’s effort to sustain the peace we now have in areas covered by the ceasefire between the government and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front),” Pangilinan said.

Sema’s spouse, former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, is chairman of the largest among three factions in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The MNLF has an existing peace pact with government, forged on Sept. 2, 1996 by a government panel led by former Ambassador Manuel Yan and the group’s founder, Nur Misuari.

Unlike Misuari, who also has a faction of his own in the now fragmented MNLF, the Sema couple is not hostile to the MILF.

Misuari is also rabidly opposed to President Benigno Aquino III’s diplomatic dealings with the MILF.

Pangilinan and his subordinate-officers tendered for Sema a banquet after a parade ceremony by an all-women contingent of 6th ID at the division’s grandstand in Camp Siongo in Datu Odin town in Maguindanao.

Among the guests to the military honor program were Maguindanao Vice Governor Lester Sinsuat and elders of the Sinsuat clan, local officials from municipalities in the first district of Maguindanao and representatives of different peace advocacy outfits.

ACIRC AMBASSADOR MANUEL YAN CAMP SIONGO COTABATO CITY MAYOR MUSLIMIN SEMA DATU ODIN EDMUNDO PANGILINAN INFANTRY DIVISION MAGUINDANAO MAGUINDANAO REP MAGUINDANAO VICE GOVERNOR LESTER SINSUAT SEMA
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