Mayors renew political ties with Hataman, Mangudadatu

John Unson (Philstar.com) - November 23, 2015 - 9:23pm

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — Local executives took advantage of Sunday’s celebration of the 42nd founding anniversary of Maguindanao province to manifest anew their political loyalty to their provincial and regional leaders.

Mayors and members of the provincial board separately vowed support for the reelection bids of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as they huddled with the two officials at the sidelines of the event.

Mayors had told reporters candidates Kagui Ali Midtimbang and Sulu Vice Gov. Sakur Tan Sr., the challengers of Mangudadatu and Hataman, respectively, will not win in their political strongholds during the May 2016 synchronized local, regional and presidential elections.

Mangudadatu is the provincial chapter chairman of the Liberal Party (LP), where more than 30 of Maguindanao’s 36 mayors belong.

Mangudadatu’s bid for a third term is also supported by the Alliance of Lumad, Iranun and Maguindanaon (ALIM) Leaders, whose members are incumbent local officials in the first and second districts of Maguindanao.

The chairman of Alim, Maguindanao Vice Gov. Lester Sinsuat, also an LP member, is a political ally of both Mangudadatu and Hataman. Sinsuat is nephew of Mangudadatu. 

Hataman is the regional figurehead of LP, who filed his certificate of candidacy last October with a written imprimatur from the party’s national directorate.

"Our vice governor and members of the provincial board also belong to the Liberal Party so how can we not make our provincial and regional leaders win in areas we control politically? Maguindanao is a Liberal Party stronghold," said lawyer Bobby Katambak, an incumbent member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Mangudadatu and Hataman separately appealed to residents of Maguindanao to continue affirming the Mindanao peace process in their speeches during Sunday’s commemoration of the 42nd founding anniversary of Maguindanao in Buluan town.

In an impromptu message, Hataman assured Maguindanao province of no less than a P5-billion share from the 2016 infrastructure budget of ARMM, a commitment Mangudadatu immediately acknowledged as an indication of Malacañang's sincerity in addressing poverty in the province.

Among the first to discuss provincial and regional political concerns with Hataman in Buluan on Sunday was reelectionist ARMM Assemblyman Khadafe Mangudadatu and his spouse, Mayor Jihan Mangudadatu of Pandag town in the second district of Maguindanao.

Mayor Mangudadatu is seeking reelection unopposed.

Assemblyman Mangudadatu authored several regional laws aiming to complement the Mindanao peace process and empower ARMM’s religious and youth sectors, in support of the normalization agenda of the bilateral government-Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace efforts.

“We support the Mindanao peace process just the way the governors of ARMM and Maguindanao supports it,” the regional lawmaker said.

Among the influential political leaders that reaffirmed political ties with Hataman and Mangudadatu in Buluan town on Sunday was Mohammad Pendatun Paglas of the vote-rich Datu Paglas town in the second district of Maguindanao.

Paglas, a scion of the Moro royalty, is also closely related by blood to the Mangudadatus in the adjoining Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

Paglas said he is grateful to the present ARMM administration for helping Datu Paglas town and the entire Maguindanao province bounce back from conflicts and natural calamities in decades past via costly infrastructure packages and technical interventions for the local fishery and agricultural sectors.

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