Mindanao execs urge peace among rival politicians

John Unson - Philstar.com
Mindanao execs urge peace among rival politicians
President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo reportedly talked about development issues in South Cotabato during their meeting in Mandaluyong City three days ago as shown in this handout photo.

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Officials on Saturday urged political camps in their provinces to end their deep-seated rivalries and regroup to sustain the gains of Malacañang’s Mindanao peace process.

“The elections are over. It is time for us to cooperate now on programs that can bring us peace and sustainable development,” Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman, just reelected to a third term, said.

He told reporters here via online Messenger that his administration is reassuring the Bangsamoro government of its commitment to its peace initiatives in Basilan.

There are forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Basilan.

The MILF’s central committee chairman, Ahod Ebrahim, is minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

North Cotabato’s vice governor, Emmylou Mendoza, who is to assume as provincial governor on June 30, said she and her political allies, among them mayors, do not harbor any animosity towards their rivals during the recent elections.

Mendoza defeated reelectionist North Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco during the May 9 polls.

Mendoza said among her concerns as new governor of North Cotabato is to help the BARMM government improve more the 63 barangays in different towns in the province that are now part of the core territory of the Bangsamoro region.

Residents of the 63 predominantly Moro barangays in different North Cotabato towns agreed to become constituents of the Bangsamoro government via a plebiscite in early 2019.

“While we don’t have administrative and political connection with these 63 barangays anymore, my administration shall keep a special connectivity with its residents because they are still inside North Cotabato,” Mendoza said.

Gerry Salapuddin, administrator of the Southern Philippines Development Authority, said he is convinced that the new president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., will support the Mindanao peace process that gained momentum in the past five years.

Salapuddin, a Yakan, campaigned extensively for Marcos in Basilan prior to the May 9 actual electoral exercise.

“I strongly believe President Marcos will nurture the gains of the national government’s peace process with Moro communities that took off with great momentum during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte,” Salapuddin said.

He said he supports the appeal of their governor, the now third-termer Salliman, for all political quarters in Basilan to “bury their rivalries," and thrive in peace again.

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr., reelected to a second term, said Saturday he has extended his hand, as “gesture of reconciliation” to his defeated challenger, Ferdinand Hernandez.

Hernandez is South Cotabato’s congressional representative.

“Our rivalry was but political and, for me, it ended after my proclamation as winner in the May 9 gubernatorial race in South Cotabato,” Tamayo said.

Tamayo said while South Cotabato is not part of BARMM, he will support its peace initiatives as courtesy to thousands of Muslim residents in his province.

“My administration has been focusing big attention to my Muslim constituents, Tamayo said.

It was only during the time of Tamayo when South Cotabato, where Christians and non-Moro indigenous people comprises a majority, started observing Muslim religious holidays to promote interfaith solidarity among constituents.

Like Salapuddin of Basilan, Tamayo is also a staunch political ally of incoming President Marcos, who was voted for overwhelmingly by South Cotabato residents during the May 9 polls.



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