By Joseph Jubelag
TACURONG CITY, Sultan Kudarat – Military authorities have facilitated the unification of two warring Moro families, who were locked in a fierce land dispute for the past years Salipada K. Pendatun town in Maguindanao.
Troops belonging to the 33rd Infantry Battalion (33rd IB), under Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, mediated in bringing peace between the families of Mamadsali Pandapatan, 50 and Jorge Ayup, 51, which have been disputing a 10 hectare-rice farmland in Barangay Lumabao, Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun, Maguindanao.
Pandapatan, who is reportedly backed by members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), insisted that the land was owned by his grandparents, while Ayup, who is a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), also had a claim of being a legal heir.
Cabunoc called for a dialogue between the feuding groups in the presence of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and Col. Antonio Sugarol, Sixth Infantry Division (6th ID) assistant commander, wherein the protagonists vowed to bury the hatchet, and agreed to the settlement of their claims on the disputed lands.
He said there were actually four claimants, who said that each had a share of 2.5 hectares.
However, Pandapatan reportedly wanted to claim the entire 10-hectare farmland, which triggered the animosity with the other claimants.
Cabunoc said clashes between the two groups have been happening since 2013.
Gov. Mangudadatu lauded the local military authorities for the peace initiatives which led to the settlement of the feuding clans in his province.
He underscored the role of the military which is committed to restore normalcy and stability in the Moro communities.
Cabunoc said the 33rd IB had already facilitated the settlement of at least five clan wars in Maguindanao this year.