MAGUINDANAO – Muslim leaders in Mindanao are moving at full throttle to push for the senatorial bid of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman as they clamor to be represented in Senate.
Hataman supporters from Mindanao have already put up different Facebook accounts and urging him to run for the Senate in next year’s local and national polls.
“Governor Mujiv Hataman will have the endorsement of all Muslims in Mindanao, not just those who are in ARMM because of this clamor for a Muslim to represent Muslims in Senate,” said Nung Ajihil, president and convener of the Zamboanga-based Mahadjanah.
Mahadjanah – which means “public or constituent, community of people” – has members in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi and it is one of the Muslim groups that expressed willingness to lead a Mindanao-wide signature campaign to urge Hataman to heed the calls of the Muslims for him to run for Senate.
The Federation of Civil Society Organizations (FCSO) of Tawi-Tawi also said Hataman’s victory in the Senate would be the victory of all Muslims in the Philippines. “Hataman for Senate will bring into the nation’s attention the plight of Muslim Filipinos in Mindanao and in the entire country. Hataman will stand, fight and serve them with commitment, steadfastness, and piety and that’s for sure,” said Arlene Sevilla, of FCSO.
She said Hataman is a proven leader. “He is a man of action, someone who really serves his constituents with transparency and accountability, promoting quality service and professionalism in the work place. The Muslim Filipinos need a Mujiv Hataman in the Senate,” Sevilla said.
Abdurasad Kenoh, president of the Senior Citizens Federation in ARMM, said Muslims must support Hataman without second thoughts. “It’s in promotion of patriotism,” Kenoh said, adding that “besides, Hataman’s policies and brand of genuine leadership are proven to be effective and beneficial for ARMM and its people.”
He also cited how Hataman put an end to the presence of so-called “ghost” of fictitious employees, teachers, students and even schools.”
“It was him who put an end to the nefarious activities of these ghosts and he did it with the determination of a great leader who felt the need of the people and their own clamor for lasting change and development,” Kenoh said.
Edwin Usman, of the Fisherfolk Association of Tawi-Tawi, and Tarhata Maglangit, a civil-society leader in Maguindanao, both also expressed their strong support for Hataman. And so is Basher Naim, of the Federation of Cooperatives of Lanao del Sur, who said that it is high time for a Muslim to be in the Senate.
“With all the issues confronting the Muslim-Filipino, I think it is high time for us to have a representation in the Senate,” Naim said.
When reached for his comment about the clamor of Muslims for Hataman to run for senator, Director Amir Mawallil, the regional governor’s spokesman, said that the 2016 elections are not yet up the radar of Hataman.
“As far as I know there are no plans for him to run for higher office,” Mawallil said. “The regional government under his helm is still busy preparing for the transition to the proposed Bangsamoro entity. He is also busy helping his home province, as I know he wants Basilan to be a model of peace and development in the region.”
But Mawallil was quick to say that “Hataman’s heart will always be in the service of the Moro people. We are all witnesses as to what he can do as a true leader and he will always be willing to serve the people of Mindanao,” he said.
In 2011, Hataman was appointed as the caretaker of the region, with no less than President Benigno Aquino labeled ARMM as a “failed experiment.” Hataman – who was a student activist during his younger days and later to become human rights advocate – became the governor when he overwhelmingly won in the elections in 2013.
Hataman was a congressional representative of Anak Mindanao party list from 2001 up to 2010. (With a report from E. Dumaboc and Cristina Diabordo)
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