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Mangudadatus extend conciliatory arms to Midtimbangs

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 23:27 PM Sun Jun 26, 2016
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Nash B. Maulana
Businessman and Former Mayor Datu Jhong Mangudadatu of Buluan, Maguindanao takes this giant leap of a conciliatory step with former Talayan, Maguindanao Mayor Hadji Ali Midtimbang, the rival of his brother, incumbent Maguindanao Governor Esmael Toto

DAVAO CITY — Former Mayor Ibrahim Datu Jhong” Mangudadatu of Buluan, Maguindanao has called on Moro leaders to stand firm on issues affecting Muslim Mindanao, principally the peace process and on unification.Mangudadatu said the country’s Muslim leaders should first collectively present solutions to problems which they wanted addressed by national government, under President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.This developed as the Mangudadatus extended reconciliatory arms to the family of Hadji Ali Midtimbang, the former mayor of Talayan, Maguindanao, who ran against incumbent Governor Esmael Toto” Mangudadatu in the last May 9 elections.DatuJhong, younger brother of Governor Mangudadatu, and Midtimbang embraced each other as they shook hands, days before Ramadan when they met at the Admiral Restaurant in Bajada District this city.The meeting, witnessed by this correspondent, was warm and cordial—and apparently to the delight also of the groups in their parties’ company.The younger Mangudadatuconfessed the meeting with Midtimbang almost moved him to tears, particularly as they embraced.Former Mayor Mangudadatu said he did not run for public office this time as his friendship with Duterte had to prevail in the last May 9 polls, and that since key members of his family—Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, ARMM Assemblyman Khadafe Mangudadatu, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, and Mayor Freddie Mangudadatu of Mangudadatu town, all reelected—were supporting the presidential bid of then Liberal Party bet Mar Roxas.Of the five siblings, only Ibrahim is not LP member, and has not run for any elective position. Esmael and Kahadafe told The Mindanao Cross they respected their brother’s decision, and that Ibrahim’s hosting here of Duterte’s campaign rally showed the essence of democracy” in Maguindanao, under their leadership— and 12 years after then popular actor Fernando Poe Jr., lost in a town—surprisingly with a zero vote— in his 2004 presidential bid.Ex-mayor Mangudadatu said instead of running for elective post last May 9, he would rather focus on a personal advocacy, which he deemed his spiritual vocation, to correct what he said were anomalous practices affecting his fellow Muslims, and the country’s image abroad.He said he wanted Moro leaders to be part of an apolitical forum that would help address issues like resolution and management of political conflict, as well as those generated by clan feuds or rido –which usually thwart people-based and government-initiated development efforts.Mangudadatu said he also took it up with reelected Governor Mujiv Hataman that local Muslim leaders should take a common stand on at least two issuesand the peace process, and on reforming the government’s services paid by Filipino Muslim pilgrims for the annual hajj in Saudi Arabia.Hataman said reforming the processwould also mean checkingor probing on alleged $ 200.00 in unrecorded cuts” by unscrupulous middle persons from each pilgrim’s roughly $ 4,700.00 - $4,800.00 payment to the Bureau of Pilgrimage and Endowment,which is under the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (BPE-NCMF).The amount translates to $ 400,000 or about P 35,200,000.00 in shortchanged loss to an average of 4,000 pilgrims annually.On the issue of the peace process, Mangudadatu said the national leadership may now push for consultative draftingof its peace agenda, and on whom to designate as government representatives for the continuity of the talks. Nash B. Maulana

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