Reconciliation of 2 feuding political clans in Basilan a big step towards peace

June 7, 2012 9:48 pm 

By Ben Cal

MANILA, June 7 -– Two feuding political families in Basilan have reconciled.

This was the good news announced Thursday by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles that the Hataman and Akbar clans, Basilan’s most influential families, have reconciled, ending more than a decade of bloody conflict.

She said the reconciliation is a big step towards peace in the war-torn province of Basilan.

Deles said and the Hatamans and the Akbars forged a peace pact last Tuesday in Isabela City, Basilan.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor in-charge Mujiv Hataman and Basilan Gov. Jum Akbar signed the “covenant of solidarity for peace and development in Basilan” at the Basilan State College in Isabela City in Basilan.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo witnessed the signing.

Deles said the reconciliation of two feuding families will greatly contribute to the peace and order in the province, scene of numerous clashes for decades.

“Peace cannot be won just on the negotiating tables; it also has to be waged on the ground. This is a big step which shows that those who lead us are capable of going beyond their personal interests and that of their clans to focus on the interests of the people and promote genuine peace and development in the province),” Deles said.

In a statement, Robredo challenged the 5,000 people in attendance to live out the contents of the agreement.

“This gathering will be in vain if it will just remain on paper. We have an obligation to leave our people more capable and more peaceful than we have found them,” he said.

Deles said Hataman expressed hope that this event will help change the bad perception on Muslim culture and politics in the region.

“Let us not allow outsiders to always see Muslims as incapable of leading, and will die and kill each other only because of power,” Deles quoted Hataman as saying.

Hataman also said “let us change the politics of the Muslims. Show that we are not killing, but caring for each other. Let us show that the politics of the Muslims is based on qualifications and not on money and arms.”

The Akbars and Hatamans were political allies until they parted ways in 2004 when they ran in different tickets.

In 2007, former Basilan Congressman Wahab Akbar was killed in a blast in at the House of Representatives Complex in Batasan Pambansa, Quezon City. The Akbars suspected the Hatamans of orchestrating the murder and filed charges against then Anak Mindanao Partylist Representative Mujiv Hataman, his brother Jim Hataman and current Basilan Representative Gerry Salapuddin.

In 2010, Jum Akbar, widow of the late Congressman Wahab Akbar, won the election and defeated Mujiv Hataman and Salapuddin.

Those who also witnessed the event were Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan, Tawi-Tawi Gov. Sadikul Sahali, Lanao del Norte Gov. Mamintal Alonto-Adiong, different mayors in Basilan and some ARMM cabinet officials. (PNA) DCT/RBC/utb

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