Two Leaders in Midsayap North Cotabato end Rido with a Peace Covenant signed and a Kanduli

About 410 families have nothing to worry anymore of their lives as two in-conflict families in their Barangay at Lumupog, Midsayap North Cotabato now agreed to end their feud for the welfare of many.

Facilitated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) through its Central Mindanao Front (CMF), a peace covenant was signed by two both parties who were Datu Puti Tukuran, Brgy. Captain of said barangay and Sheik Abbas Kuranding, a local MILF Field Commander also of Brgy. Lumupog. This was realized at on June 17, 2012 at the MILF Headquarters, CMF Office Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat Maguindanao.

Having this agreement known to the public and also as one way of celebrating the ending of this conflict, a kanduli (thanksgiving party) was conducted on June 21, 2012 at Brgy. Lumupog. This was witnessed by the community, local stakeholders, NGOs such as UnYPhil-Women, MinHRac, and Balay Rehabilitation, representatives from Task Force Reconciliation-Maguindanao Province, Task Force Reconciliation- Datu Piang municipality and Task Force Ittihad. The CCCH was also there with the International Monitoring Team (IMT) through its Head of Mission Maj. Gen. Datu Abdurrahim bin Yusoph.

In his message, Maj. Datu Abdurrahim expressed his hope and prayers that peace and forgiveness shall rein in the hearts of everyone especially the two parties. “I believe that working together, supporting each other in the banner of Islam will bring us towards a better place for all of us”, he said.

Furthermore, the Gen. reminds the both parties that it is not just a signing of a paper, but most importantly to put into action whatever has been agreed because it is the commitment of both parties as leaders to lead the way towards building a peaceful community for everyone.

“You are all coming from the same family, from the same community, from the same flagship of Islam, thus you must not into any conflict,” stressed Maj. Abdurrahim.

The two parties are close relatives. Datu Puti is a nephew to Commander Abbas. They have long been in conflict due to dispute over leadership and power in their barangay. No one of them would recognize the authority of the other in their community until such time that their refusal to pay respect to each other resulted to an armed clash on June 9, 2012.

Also in the gathering was the representative from the provincial government of North Cotabato who was Edris Gandalibo. Relaying the message of Gov. Lalah Taliño-Mendoza, he conveyed that its provincial government is very supportive to the on-going ceasefire agreement between the GPH-MILF, thus the Governor wants peace and development for the community of Lumupog.

Expressing their commitment to restore peace in their barangay, the two parties also delivered their message during the kanduli. Datu Puti thanked everyone who helps in the reconciliation while Commander Abbas gladly informed the community that they can now return safely to their homes. “You can now return here for the children to go back schooling, for education is very important for them, for they are the hope of our Bangsamoro land”, said Abbas. ”Let us all hope for the betterment of our Brgy. Lumupog, and let us all forget bitterness in our hearts,” he added.

Confirming his statement of the safety of the people, CMF Front Commander Gordon Saifullah in his statement assured the community that they can now return home. ”CMF assures you that commitment of both parties to reconcile can be trusted”, stated Saifullah.

To recall, this June 9 rido caused displacement to 401 families who were left homeless for three (3) weeks in nearby communities of Brgy. Lumupog. These families suffered poor conditions during evacuation, relying mainly on whatever they can afford to feed themselves, especially their children.

Relief assistances were provided by the municipal government of Midsayap through its Municipal Social Services Development Division, MSSD and also the provincial government of North Cotabato.

Coming from the MSSDD were 3 kilos of rice, 2 packs of noodles and 2 cans of sardines while from the prov’l. gov’t. were 2 kilos of rice, 3 cans of sardines and 3 packs of noodles.

Now, upon the reconciliation of the two parties, peace shall be available for all. No more fears for innocent civilians to live their lives normally attending to their livelihood activities.

As stated in the peace covenant signed by Datu Puti and Sheik Abbas, they shall not anymore be involved in any disagreement, or if so it shall be call upon the attention of the MILF who shall take charge of the necessary actions. Whoever shall violate this agreement shall be subjected to the existing rules and regulations of the MILF.

As expected, said kanduli concluded with a lunch for all- with everyone sharing all the local cuisines served and prepared by the women of Brgy. Lumupog. Kanduli is a local term for thanksgiving banquet practiced among Maguindanaon.

Sponsoring this kanduli was joint resources from the BLGU of Lumupog and from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) through its project tagged as Super-Quick Impact Project with United Youth of the Philippines-Women, Inc. (UnYPhil-Women).

This project is aimed at providing support to internally displaced communities through assessment of their immediate needs and their situations during displacement. Through this project also that possible measures to prevent further chaos in the evacuation is determined to help fast track the return of the IDPs.

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