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First ever Lumad North Cotabato governor to assume Sunday

GOVERNANCE/POLITICS • 10:15 AM Tue Jun 25, 2019
John M. Unson
Congresswoman Nancy Catamco, an indigenous tribeswoman, will assume as North Cotabato governor on Sunday.(JMU)

NORTH COTABATO ---Organizers are expecting hundreds of non-Moro indigenous people to attend Sunday’s assumption of the first ever North Cotabato governor from the lumad community

Members of the interim support staff core of incoming North Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco said Tuesday all is set for her oath-taking on Sunday at the gymnasium in the provincial capitol in Barangay Amas in Kidapawan City.

Catamco, whose third and last term as congresswoman will end on Sunday, belongs to North Cotabato’s Obo-Manevu group, dominant in highland towns in the second and third district of the province.   

Among the dignitaries invited to the event is Catamco’s political ally and adviser, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, who was governor of North Cotabato for three terms that spanned from 1998 to 2007.

Catamco, touted as “Diwata sa Mount Apo,” defeated in the May 13 gubernatorial race in North Cotabato a wealthy and influential rival, Carmen Mayor Roger Taliño.

The country’s tallest, the scenic Mount Apo, an extinct volcano, is sacred to non-Moro indigenous highland tribes in North Cotabato, in Bukidnon in Region 10 and in Davao del Sur in Region 11.

The defeated gubernatorial candidate Taliño is father of now outgoing three-termer North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, who was elected vice governor of the province last May 13.

In a statement after the Commission on Elections declared her governor-elect, Catamco said she will reach out to mayors and barangay officials who supported Taliño as a “healing process” meant to foster political solidarity among partisans in the province.

She said she will also focus on socio-economic and humanitarian interventions for Muslim communities in North Cotabato in support of the peace process of President Rodrigo Duterte and the southern Moro groups.

The Regional Police Office-12 will deploy sufficient number of personnel to secure the provincial capitol on Sunday, according its spokesman, Lt. Col. Aldrin Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said they are anticipating the participation of hundreds of tribal leaders and community elders from the indigenous communities in Sunday’s oath-taking rite at the provincial capitol.

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