By: Yusoph S. Lumambas
July 3, 2013: Hundreds of participants gathered together at Barangay Galakit, Pagalungan, Maguindanao on June 27 to witness the signing of peace covenant to finally seal the politically related conflict between Bago and Tumanong Clans facilitated by the Local Initiatives for Peace and Development in Mindanao (LIPAD Mindanao) with funding assistance from the Maguindanao Peace Advocates (MPA) supported by the The Asia Foundation (TAF) and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).
The Chieftain of Barangay Galakit, Datu Anwar Matalam, welcomed the participants and acknowledged the presence of leaders of both clans, community leaders from different Barangays and the leaders of the different Civil Society Organizations who graced the activity.
“Actually, the Bago and Tumanong families are relatives and have a good relationship before. Since the damage is not yet that big, you should restore that good relationship in accordance with the teaching of Islam because no one becomes victor in the conflict, but rather you all become losers,” Matalam said.
“The rampant Ridos that have been occurring among the Bangsamoro is just a result of the situation and we are just victims of that because, if we go back to history, our forefathers had strong brotherhood and mutual respect,” Landayan lamented.
The Coordinator of Maguindanao Peace advocates (MPA), Samsodin C. Amella, explained in his short message that, “The presence of the villagers who have witnessed this significant affair is an indicator that we are blessed in this endeavor.”
“Peace and unity are doable and they must start from ourselves then to the community,” Amella, also the Executive Director of the Mindanao Actions for Peace and Development Initiatives (MAPAD Initiatives), added.
He ended his message by quoting a hadith (saying and teaching) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), “Al guiamaato Rahmat walfirqato azaab (Unity is mercy while disunity is punishment).”
Nayang Timan, Disciplinary Board of the MILF’s 108 Based Command said, “Any problem has a solution, and we must address problem through sincere dialogue, and never put the law in your hands,” stressed in his message.
“There will never be winners in killing of each other but they will all become residents of hell,” he added.
Timan appreciated both clans for resolving their problem through peaceful means with a peace covenant signed.
The LIPAD Mindanao member, Ustadz Ebrahim Kudto, read the contents of the peace covenant. He differentiated first the meaning of agreement and covenant. According to him, agreement and covenant convey almost the same meaning but covenant is more solemn and sacred.
The Nonviolence Peaceforce (NP), the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) and other NGOs representatives, the Philippine National Police of Pagalungan, Maguindanao delivered their messages of support to the said activity.
The signing of the peace covenant followed and the messages of commitment of both clans’ representatives were delivered.