Monday Mar, 30 2020 04:20:54 AM

Congressman Hataman now House deputy speaker

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 12:15 PM Wed Aug 14, 2019
John M. Unson
Reps. Hataman, now deputy speaker, and Mangudadatu are staunch political allies.  (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY --- Officials were elated with the election of Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman as deputy speaker, certain he now has better leverage to sustain the dividends of the southern peace process.

Hataman was governor of the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for seven years prior to his election as congressman in Basilan province last May 13.

Radio reports on Tuesday night said Hataman, a full-blooded Moro, was voted house deputy speaker earlier the same day.

Hataman’s political ally, Maguindanao 1st District Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu, whom he had worked with in peace-advocacy programs while he was ARMM governor, was elected vice chairman of the House defense committee.

Hataman was the second Yakan from Basilan to become House deputy speaker. The first was Gerry Salapuddin, who now heads the Southern Philippines Development Authority.

“This is a big challenge and for me a new governance frontier. I give the honor of having been voted deputy speaker not to myself but to people in Basilan and all other provinces in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” Hataman said Wednesday.

The BARMM covers the scattered provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Marawi and Lamitan and more than 60 barangays in North Cotabato in Region 12.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said Wednesday Hataman and Mangudadatu will surely work together on legislations needed to boost Malacañang’s peace process with Mindanao’s Moro communities.

“They both have accomplishments on their respective peace initiatives that I have seen before they became members of the House of Representatives. They surely will speak for the Moro cause up there,” Sobejana said.

Mangudadatu was governor of Maguindanao from 2010 to June 30 this year.

Mayor Ramon Piang of Upi town in Maguindanao province said the ethnic non-Moro Teduray community in BARMM are glad with Hataman’s having been named House deputy speaker.

“The indigenous people in Maguindanao are assured of a loud voice in Congress through him and Congressman Mangudadatu,” Piang said.

In separate statements Tuesday, Hataman and Mangudadatu assured to work in tandem in complementing the southern Mindanao peace process of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Mangudadatu said he will do his best to deliver what his colleagues in the House and his constituents shall expect from him as defense committee chairman.

Hataman said he will also focus on helping sustain the takeoff of the newly-created BARMM under its chief minister, Hadji Ahod Ebrahim, chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.


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