By Ben Rosario
LEGASPI CITY, Albay – Mindanao will catch up with the rest of the country in terms of economic progress if voters will support senators who are sincere and capable in pursuing a legislative program for peace and development in the region.
This was the message that President Rodrigo Duterte sent to Bicol folks during well-attended campaign sorties for administration senatorial candidates.
Duterte singled-out Maguindanao Rep. Dong Mangudadatu as his personal choice in helping pursue additional pieces of legislation that would support the recently-enacted Bangsamoro Organic Law.
The chief executive has described Mangudadatu as “one of the good leaders of the Moro people, who will promote peace in Mindanao.”
Duterte urged voters to help him put in place the development and peace programs in Mindanao, saying that they only need to support Mangudadatu and several other senatorial bets he had endorsed.
“So, hingin ko ay isa lang. Masabi ko lang na may isang senador na aalagaan mo, kasi he will promote peace in Mindanao,” Duterte said.
Duterte was joined by Mayor Sara Duterte, the founding chairperson of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), in supporting Mangudadatu’s candidacy.
In various Hugpong ng Pagbabago campaign sorties, the city mayor makes it a point to introduce Mangudadatu as the “key to Mindanao’s peace and progress.”
Mangudadatu is optimistic that attaining peace in Mindanao is not far-fetched, banking on the full implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which he supports to give the south a respite from the wars and lift the people from the bondage of poverty.
Mangudadatu said the support of the national government, Mindanaoans, and the Filipino Muslims is vital for Mindanao to catch up with the rest of the country, especially that part of the island is transitioning to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ( BARMM ).
“ BARMM, if given the right implementation and full support of the people not only the Muslim Filipinos, the whole of Mindanao’s growth will accelerate and push this country into unprecedented growth and progress,” he said.
Thus, Mangudadatu said, Mindanao needs another voice in the Senate so that peace and development initiatives for the island can be given a stronger push.
Mangudadatu, who is seeking a Senate seat in the May election, said Mindanao is a land of opportunities but, these have remained untapped because of perceived peace and order issues.
The Mindanao leader, who once served as the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President of Buluan town in 1996 and the town mayor of Pandag before his stint in the House of Representatives, said Mindanao is on its way to peace and progress.
If peace is achieved, Mangudadatu said, the government will save billions of pesos and these can be used to fund other priority programs in education, free medicines and healthcare services, affordable basic needs and accessible services to lift the living conditions of the Filipinos.
It is time for the people to set aside perception of Mindanao as a troubled land, Mangudadatu said.
Mangudadatu’s legislative agenda is rolled in one word P.E.A.C.E which stands for Prosperity, Education, Agriculture, Cultural Unity, and Energy.