by Ali G. Macabalang
In my last column, I enumerated some wishes I harbor in 2021 and beyond. And this segment’s title is another wish I want to see vanishing in the litany of wayward characters among some Filipino political leaders.
This wish is particularly dedicated to incumbent elected executives in Cotabato City who, in their persistent refusal to recognize being covered by the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro region, have continued to prevent inflow of services and other forms of support from the regional autonomous government.
I am certain that amid the gripping effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, majority city residents, especially the poor, are willing to accept relief assistance from outside sources including the BARMM government in addition to what they get from the city hall. But some of them were discretely accepting BARMM services and material assistance, while others would refuse to follow suit for fear of adverse sanctions from the city mayor’s office.
Humanitarian quarters believed that for City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi to soften her hardened stance toward the regional government would not erode the loyalty to her of city residents if allowed to receive BARMM support. On the contrary, their loyalty may even grow higher, local political pundits said.
I also wish that the people of Mindanao, particularly those in the Bangsamoro region will elect in the 2022 polls more senatorial candidates from southern Philippines who can echo in the halls of Congress their often unheeded clamors for fair attention from the central government and proportionate share from the national pie of development funds.
Of the nation’s 24 senators, at least six or more representatives from Mindanao should be elected. For the estimated 11 million Muslim Filipinos, electing one or more senators from their flock could a great relief in the over two-decade absence of direct representation of their community to the Senate. The last Muslim senator was Nena Rasul.
Publicly known so far a Muslim senatorial candidate is Lanao del Sur’s Samira Gutoc, who deserves winning votes in her second attempt.
The Mindanao people and Muslim Filipinos should take cues from their Bicolano brethren, who in one term, made it to elect four senators from their tribe, including Joker Arroyo, Kit Tatad and Raul Rocco.
Incumbent senators include at least four from Mindanao – Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri and Koko Pimentel. Dela Rosa and Go run for president and vice president in the 2022 elections, but can return to the Senate seats if defeated. Zubiri is seeking reelection.
Another highly potential Mindanao voice to the Senate is former Agriculture and Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Manny Piñol. He can harness his journalism-shaped eloquence and real time experience as a rural farmer in voicing out the woes of farms and crafting the corresponding legislative remedies.
Sec. Piñol, if elected, would be an effective chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. This will be a relief in the irony of a real estate developer senator chosen to head the committee.
There were anecdotes that a real estate developer has a higher degree of inkling to convert farms into communities of profitable housing units for affluent people. I wish for Sec. Pinol’s election to the Senate. Ameen
(AGM/Philippine Muslim Today)