March 11, 2010
Bro Eddie wins the heart of Davaoenos, Bangon gets Muslim nod
“Kaya kayong mga Kristiyano, magkaisa na kayo dahil lahat ng Muslim sa Mindanao ay nagka-isa na para kay Bro. Eddie!”
These were the words of Hadji Elme Sanguila, nephew of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari and vice president for Mindanao of United Muslim Organization during the political rally of Bro Eddie Villanueva’s Bangon Pilipinas Party on Tuesday night, March 9, at the Rizal Park in Davao City.
Sanguila also said that he is doing the organizing for Bangon Pilipinas Party in Mindanao upon the direct instruction of the influential MNLF head. On stage with Al-Habi were about 70 of the 129 local candidates of Bangon Pilipinas in Mindanao who are Muslims, Christians, and Lumads.
Villanueva was joined by his running-mate Atty Perfecto Yasay, a Cotabato-born true-blooded Mindanaoan, and their senatoriables whose surname initials form the coined acronym APPOINT PV (Alonto Dr Zafrullah, Papin Imelda, Paredes Atty Zosimo Jesus, Ocampo Atty Ramoncito, Inocencio Kata, Nikabulin Count Habib Adz, Tinsay Alex, Princesa Atty Reynaldo, Virgines Dr Israel). The group arrived in the Crown Jewel of Mindanao on Monday and left on Wednesday for a three-day campaign sortie.
Showers of blessings
Midway the program of Tuesday’s main political rally, Davaoenos experienced what they called a miracle.
“At a time when our land is seemingly cursed by drought caused by El Nino, the refreshing rain that came down on us during the peak of the event is nothing ordinary. It was a clear act of God,” said Bangon Pilipinas Mindanao head of operations Roderick Albolario.
He claimed it could be a foretaste of what a Villanueva administration could bring to the nation.
“Could this be the manifestation of what’s in store for the Philippines under a Villanueva presidency? We hope so. We believe so,” he added amid the loud chants of “Anim na taon na walang korapsyon, bagong Pilipinas ay babangon,” by the huge crowd whose spirit was not dampened by the downpour.
Indigenous people’s support
Earlier that day, Villanueva and his slate also met with chieftains of various tribes in Mindanao in a Tribal Summit at Jade Valley Dormitory.
“You have been unjustly neglected by a society that views you as mere cultural spectacle; we will put an end to this,” said Villanueva.
During the dialogue, he also underscored that his platform of government ensures that all Filipinos have equal opportunities to get educated, emancipated, and empowered, to get their living standard elevated, and to become active partners in eradicating bad governance, energizing the economy, and establishing peace in the land.
In a separate meeting with the Ulamas, United Muslim Organization Vice President for Mindanao Hadji Elme Sanguila referred to Villanueva as “beloved president” as he presented to the latter the support of the Ulama group from Regions 9, 10, 11,12, 13, and ARRM.
“Mahal na Pangulo, sila po ang [Ulamas sa] six regions and 23 provinces of Mindanao, susuporta sa iyong kandidatura at sa iyong buong partido.”
He added, “Kami po ay nanunumpa na walang anumang kapalit. Ito po ay aming kusang loob na isuko ang aming sarili at suporta sa inyo… Sa pamamagitan mo, ang Pilipinas ay babangon muli.”
Bangon in Tagum City
Villanueva’s group, on Monday, also visited Tagum City in Davao Del Norte where they had a yellow-and-green themed motorcade that ended in a political rally at Tagum City Plaza .
Alternately speaking in Visayan, Tagalog, and English, Bangon Pilipinas senatorial candidate Count Habib Adz Nikabulin told his story on how, as a young ground commander of the MNLF, he was ordered to command the war in Misamis Oriental should the peace process during the Ramos administration’s time collapsed.
Nikabulin recounted that he went to Mt Buntula in Cagayan De Oro, dressed in full battle gear, to declare war but chose to extend to the people his hand in peace.
“And because of this, I was given the highest honor as Datu Kuminunsad by Amay Mandepensa Lumandong and Datu Anduhan,” Nikabulin said, adding that peace is indeed possible if only all parties are sincere in pursuing it. Lumandong was the Manobo-Talaandig tribal priest and Anduhan, the chieftain.
On the issue of peace talks, Nikabulin reiterated that he believes in the brilliance and wisdom of dialogue, but he was also quick in qualifying it.
“Naniniwala ako in the brilliance and wisdom of dialogue, ngunit may criteria ang sinasabing dayalogo. Kapag nakipag-dayalogo ka sa tao kung walang sinseridad ay mahirap makamit ang tunay na layunin ng pakikipag dayalogo,” he explained.
Villanueva, for his part, told the crowd in earnest: “Naniniwala ako na ang mga Pinoy ay may nakatagong kabutihan. Gagawin ko lahat ng aking magawa para magkaroon ng reconciliation…”
After the event, throng of people flanked Villanueva and promised to bring him to Malacanang with their votes cast for him in May 2010.
Bangon local candidates
From Tagum City, the Bangon Pilipinas candidates traveled back to Davao City where they met with about 70 of their local candidates in Mindanao.
During the open forum, Villanueva emphasized their seriousness in establishing genuine peace and order in Mindanao which, he said, is the only way to forge genuine progress in the region.
“We are humbled that no less than MNLF Chair Nur Misuari himself said that among all the presidentiables, he sees Bro Eddie as the only one credible,” he said quoting what was said by the influential MNLF head in a press conference November of last year.
Villanueva added that this credibility issue was what made Misuari “feel at home working with Bangon Pilipinas in our common quest for peace in Mindanao.”
The MNLF chief is Bangon Pilipinas’ gubernatorial candidate in Sulu.
Meanwhile, on behalf of all the party candidates, General Bensali Shariffa affirmed what was said by Misuari.
“Alam namin kung bakit di kami kay Gibo. Alam namin kung bakit di kami kay Villar. Alam namin kung bakit di kami kay Noynoy. Alam namin kung bakit kami para kay Bro Eddie,” he remarked then explained that they abide by what their leader says.
“Para kay Allah, para kay Chairman Misuari, gawin namin kung ano sinasabi ng aming leader,” said the MNLF field marshal who is also Bangon Pilipinas’ bet for vice-governor in Basilan.
Villanueva pointed out that under a serious and sincere zero-corruption leadership, the so-called elusive peace and progress in Mindanao would be achievable.
“Should you entrust us with your votes and elect us as your leaders, we commit to continue the stalled peace process here in Mindanao. We pledge to stand for one Mindanao that is not split nor splintered. And we shall seriously consider calling for a plebiscite and/or a Constitutional Convention to submit to the Filipino people the question of federalism as a final and permanent solution to the problem of peace and progress in Mindanao,” said Villanueva.