MNLF chairman to file COC for Cotabato mayor
John Unson (Philstar.com) - October 14, 2015 - 1:10am

COTABATO CITY, Philippines - The chairman of the largest of three factions in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) will file on Thursday his certificate of candidacy (COC) for mayor of Cotabato City.

Muslimin Sema, who had served as mayor here for three consecutive terms, said he was almost to retire from politics but could not ignore the clamors for him to aspire for the city’s mayoral post again.

He said his supporters want him to address the peace and security concerns besetting Cotabato City.

Sema is chairman of the largest and most politically-active faction in the MNLF, which forged a peace pact with the national government on September 2, 1996.

Unlike the MNLF group under Nur Misuari, Sema and his men are not hostile to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Sema’s group is not opposed to the ongoing government-MILF peace initiative either.

Sema’s spouse, Sandra, who is incumbent congressional representative of Maguindanao, will also file a COC for a third term on Thursday. They both belong to the ruling Liberal Party.

The couple had said if elected together, they will push forward the completion of ongoing costly, high-impact congressional projects in Cotabato City’s 37 barangays which are inside the first district of Maguindanao.

A popular incumbent city councilor, Bruce Matabalao, who was a former broadcast journalist, is also seeking reelection under the slate of Sema, whose running mate is vice mayoral candidate Mohammad Pasigan.

Matabalao is known for his being supportive of the Mindanao peace process.

The Semas are among few Moro leaders in Central Mindanao openly campaigning for public support to President Benigno Aquino III’s Mindanao peace process.

Just last Tuesday, Sema held a peace dialogue with MILF’s figurehead, Murad Ebrahim, at Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao.

BRUCE MATABALAO CAMP DARAPANAN CENTRAL MINDANAO COTABATO CITY LIBERAL PARTY MAGUINDANAO MINDANAO MOHAMMAD PASIGAN MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT SEMA
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