Let us not lose that Momentum!

Iligan City, Philippines
October 8, 2017

Sultan Firdausi Abbas

From its inception until the day of the Congress, Sultan Firdausi Abbas has given so much of his time, effort and money in the realization of the Bangsa Mranaw Congress (BMC). He has risked many things including his life to realize this endeavor because he believed, as he still believes that this is the best answer to the cries and clamor of our people, the Bangsa Mranaw, amidst what he calls the Marawi Tragedy that has befallen us since May 23, 2017.

And that is exactly the reason, I believe, why some 500 participants, including me, actively participated in the BMC’s two-day activities on September 30 and October 1, 2017 at Elena Towers Inn and Maria Cristina Hotel respectively, the first of its kind in the history of Bangsa Mranaw where Mranaw multi-sectoral leaders had actively expressed their true feelings and sentiments.

Sultan Abbas, a Ph.D. holder, is a renowned international lawyer whose fame and leadership started to be recognized in his campus days at the University of the Philippines. In his younger days, he and his equally famous elder brother, the late Sultan Macapanton Abbas Jr., a lawyer too, championed the cause of the Bangsa Moro.

In his call last night, Sultan Abbas said he is pained that people whom he had earlier thought who could help for the BMC smooth sailing would betray its noble intent. “These are riders. Worse they betray the trust of those who participated especially the female youth. They are taking advantage of the unexpected popularity of the Bangsa Mranaw Congress,” he was quoted in the Social Media as saying.

Sultan Abbas was referring to some members of the BMC Executive Council who recently held a press conference without his knowledge and who announced to the members of the media supposed resolutions passed during the two-day congress which he had not approved yet as BMC chairman. He said he had warned them not to insert their personal agenda in the Congress and they promised not to do so but they did so. 

Yes, I believe too, the Congress is for the collective interest of the Mranaw People, not for any individual’s aggrandizement. And as I assessed the BMC since its inception until now, I realized it had always been used by some for their own selfish interest. And this is what the Sultan of Lanao does abhor – the imp and fiend he hates so much.

Still, I believe that a noble intent will not just be lost or killed like a bubble to disappear in the wind. The Bangsa Mranaw Congress may be sailing in rough seas at the start. But, believe me, with perseverance and dedication of the forerunners and undertakers, no tempest can ever destroy a noble intent that is aimed for the general welfare of people. For Allah (subhaanahu wa ta ‘alaa), the Merciful, the All-Powerful and the All-Knowing has always a way to help it succeed.

But, as God does not change our condition unless we change ourselves, it all depends upon us — if we can afford to lose that chance, that answer to our cries and clamor, to our sufferings.

On my part, I came all along from Manila for this Congress. I gave everything I could for its success – time, effort and money. I did that not because of that royal conferment upon me. I did that because I believed it could be the best answer to our problem as a Nation. And I believe in the leadership of Sultan Abbas, that he can be the best person to lead us out of this bad situation.

His royal conferment on me the title of Dean of Mranaw Journalists is not the reason why I joined the BMC though I know I deserve such a title. The Sultan would not give it to me if he did not know I deserve it. He knows as everybody else does that I am the only Maranao journalist who has maintained an independent newspaper of general circulation for quite long a time. Even the destruction of our head office in Marawi due to the siege did not hinder me serving our people with our newspaper. 

Also, I am the only Maranao journalist who was elected by Southeast Asian Muslim journalists as Secretary General of the Organizing Secretariat of the prestigious World Federation of Muslim Journalists in Kuala Lumpur. And I was the very first Maranao accredited by the KBP when I was a radio commentator in DXDC in Davao and DXBC in Butuan during my younger days. I have had done many other things in my journalism career that no other Mranaw has ever done.

Let us not allow the Bangsa Mranaw Congress just gone. Let us not lose this momentum, this chance of having somebody to lead us. Let us not allow those whom the Sultan said are using the Congress for personal greedy interest destroy our hope. Let us rally behind the leadership of the Sultan for we can never find another in this very crucial time. 


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