Land of promise: Lands to politicians, promises to the people

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

The problem with Mindanao, so-called land of promise, is that the ruling political dynasties control all the lands, while the people get all the empty promises. The land is rich and fertile but the people are struggling to survive below the poverty line. The mansions of the trapos are surrounded by colonies of squatters. Huge plantations turned independent farmers into feudal laborers. The elite have marginalized the natives, the indigenous communities who have no education, and are constantly caught in the crossfire of the intermittent clashes between the government forces and rebels aided by terrorists.

Let’s examine the ruling classes in politics as well as the economic and social lives of Mindanaoans. In Maguindanao, the Sinsuats used to be the ruling family, with Datu Sinsuat Balabaran appointed senator in 1934. Prominent members of this dynasty are Blah Sinsuat, delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention, Cotabato Governor Duma Sinsuat, Odin, Pidtukasan, Rossman, Fatima, and Datu Nguda. The Mastura and Matalam families in Maguindanao include Datu Tucao Mastura, governor of the aborted province of Shariff Kabunsuan, Datu Michael Mastura, Datu Ishak Mastura, Datu Shameen, Datu Raul, Datu Shariffudin Tucao, Bai Shahida, Bai Norhanan, and Datu Ismael. In Sultan Kudarat, the most prominent now are the Mangudadatus; Congressman Sultan Pax, Governor Suhartu, Mayor Bing, Governor Esmael, Congressman Raden, Mayor Ibrahim, Mayor Freddie, Assemblyman Khadaffi, Vice Mayor King Jazier, Prince Dilangalen, Bai Elizabeth, and Bai Gina.

In Lanao del Sur, the Balindongs led by Malabang Mayor Sultan Ameer, Ali Pangalian, and about 30 other officials all surnamed Balindong. The Dimaporos, first led by Sultan Ali, and now by his son Abdullah, former governor and now congressman. Datu Hattah, Imelda, Governor Mohammad Khalid, Aliah Naga and Motalib, Macacuyah, Raida, Mauyag, and Yassin. The Alontos, starting with the first Muslim elected senator in 1935, Sultan Alauya Alonto, followed by Ahmad Domocao, Abdul Gaffur, Princess Tarhata, Abdul Khayr, Normala, Mamintal, Ansarruddin, Ricky, Zia, Yasser, Alexander, Abdulrashid, Amer, Haroun, Abdul, Datu Birua, Panggalan, and Jamal. The Chiongbians in Sarangani and now the Pacquiaos, as well as the Climacos in Zamboanga, the Plazas in Agusan, the Hatamans of Basilan, the Sakur Tans of Jolo, and the Sali and Matba clans in Tawi-tawi.

The Jalosjos family still dominates Zamboanga. This started with Romeo, followed by Rosalina, Dominador, Annabel, Cesar, Marjorie, Rommel, Johanna, Svetlana and many others. In Agusan del Norte, Lawrence Fortun dominates in the 1st District, Angelina Matba represents the 2nd District. In Agusan Sur, Surigao Norte, Lyndon Barbers lost to Francisco Matugas as governor, while Francisco Matugas II won as congressman of the 1st District, while Ace Barbers defeated Sol Matugas as congressman of the second. In Surigao Sur, Alex Pimentel is governor and the congressmen are Prospero Pichay, and Johnny Pimentel. In Dinagat, Kaka Bag-ao demolished the Ecleo Kingdom after winning as governor in 2019, but Alan Ecleo won by a very slim margin as congressman. In Bukidnon, the Zubiris still dominate. Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr. won as governor. Ma Lourdes Alba represents the 1st District, but Jonathan Flores won over Ignacio Zubiri in the second. Manuel Zubiri won unopposed in the third, and Rogelio Roque won in the fourth.

The Hugpong of Inday Sara failed to win in Davao del Norte. The team of former speaker Bebot Alvarez won. Governor is Edwin Hubahib, who vanquished the super-rich, Rodulfo del Rosario. Bebot Alvarez overwhelmed his opponent as congressman of the 1st District. Billionaire Tonyboy Floirendo of Hugpong was also demolished by Alan Dujali in the 2nd District. In Davao del Sur Douglas Cagas defeated Hugpong's bet as governor and Marc Douglas IV also defeated Almendras of Hugpong as vice governor. Mercedes Cagas also won as representative over Hugpong's bet. In Davao Oriental however, Hugpong’s bet for governor, Nelson Dayanghirang won unopposed. Cora Malanyaon, Hugpong’s bet was unopposed. In the second district, Joel Almario of PDP-Laban was also unopposed. In Davao Occidental, Hugpong's Claude Bautista and Franklin Bautista, governor and vice governor, were unopposed. Unopposed as representative was Lorna Bandigan of NPC.

In Davao de Oro, Hugpong's bets for governor and vice governor, Jayvee Uy and Maricar Zamora, were unopposed. Manuel Zamora of Hugpong won over Tito Franco in the 1st District while PDP Laban's Ruwel Gonzaga was unopposed in the 2nd District. Again, the winners are all coming from the ruling elite, except Kaka Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands who conquered a multi-millionaire. At least, once in a while, reason prevails over superior resources. There is hope in Mindanao.

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