Wednesday Dec, 06 2023 10:11:24 PM

Maguindanao Inaul Festival mountain bike challenge a big hit

 • 22:20 PM Mon Feb 11, 2019
John Unson
Muslim, Christian and Lumad bikers participated in the Maguindanao mountain bike challenge.

MAGUINDANAO - Hundreds of bikers with different religions joined the provincial mountain bike challenge in Buluan town Sunday to show support for the Mindanao peace process.The competition was one of the highlights of the weeklong Maguindanao Inaul Festival, to culminate on February 14.The Inaul festival is meant to promote the colorful Inaul fabric, a strong cultural icon that ethnic Maguindanaons have been producing for centuries now using traditional wooden looms.Some bikers who joined Sunday’s race in Buluan, capital town of the province, were police and military personnel, athletes from different non-Islamic religious groups and indigenous non-Moro communities from across central Mindanao and nearby regions.Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana of the Army’s 6thInfantry Division said Monday he is thankful to the office of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu for embarking on the mountain bike event in support of Malacañang’s effort to promote cordiality among southerners. It is nice to see sportsmen from areas that stand to benefit from the peace efforts of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front participate in the mountain bike challenge, Sobejana said.Mangudadatu, now in his third and last term as governor, and division chiefs in his office are main organizers of the Inaul Festival, the third in Maguindanao in three years.The yearly event is focused on promoting the Inaul fabric to generate livelihood for local Muslim, Christian and Lumad sectors and connect producers to markets outside of Mindanao and abroad.Sobejana said all the sports events held along with the festival complements the effort of the 6thID to propagate understanding on the importance of President Duterte’s effort to peacefully solve the Mindanao Moro issue. The participants to the mountain bike challenge also had the chance to see a variety of Inaul showcases at the venue of the festival. Surely they will talk about the Inaul cloth once back to their families, Sobejana said.The 6thID and the provincial government of Maguindanao have common peace-building programs in the province, one of which is a local reconciliation program that already resulted in the surrender in recent months of almost 30 members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.The group, which operates in the fashion of the Islamic State, is not covered by the 1979 Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities between the government and the MILF.

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