Bloody 'rido' in isolated Cotabato barangay waning down

John Unson - Philstar.com
Bloody 'rido' in isolated Cotabato barangay waning down
Leaders of the feuding Moro groups in Barangay Matilac in Pigcawayan, Cotabato listen to representatives of the Army's 6th Infantry Division explaining the need for them to forge a final peace compact.
Photo courtesy of Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY — Guns are silent in Barangay Matilac in Pigcawayan, Cotabato since last week after the military had repositioned away from each other two Moro groups that figured in deadly gunfights in the area in recent months.

Local officials and the commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, Major Gen. Alex Rillera, separately told reporters on Sunday that the enemies Tong Talusan and Ebrahim Piang and their followers have agreed to disengage in reciprocation of efforts of traditional Moro leaders and officials 6th ID to reconcile them.

Talusan is a field commander in the 104th Base Command of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Piang, also known as Kagui Sabod, is also a leader of a large group belonging to the MILF’s 105th Base Command and is being backed by his relatives in the Moro National Liberation.

“The two rival factions have disengaged and we are sure of the full restoration of normalcy in Barangay Matilac soon,” Rillera said.

The groups of Talusan and Piang had figured in deadly gunfights in recent months, triggered by squabbles for control of strategic patches of lands in Barangay Matilac and deep-seated political differences.

The spate of hostilities between them in recent months had exacted fatalities on both sides and caused the displacement of hundreds of marginalized Moro families.

Barangay Matilac in Pigcawayan is one of the 63 barangays in different towns in Cotabato province under Administrative Region 12, whose residents voted in favor of the inclusion of their domains into the core territory of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao via a plebiscite in 2019.

“Even so, local executives and provincial officials who do not have administrative and political control over Barangay Matilac anymore assisted us still in addressing the problem,” Rillera said.

He said that he has directed commanders of their units in Cotabato province to broker a final peace compact between Talusan and Piang.

Rillera said the Cotabato Provincial Peace and Order Council under the administration of Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, who is chairperson of the multi-sector, inter-agency Regional Development Council 12, supported 6th ID’s efforts to resolve the conflict between the groups of Talusan and Piang.

“To the provincial government of Cotabato, we are thankful,” Rillera said.

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