2023 barangay and SK elections

Maguindanao del Sur leaders find ways to have more unopposed bets in barangay polls

Rommel Rebollido

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Maguindanao del Sur leaders find ways to have more unopposed bets in barangay polls

CAPITOL. The Maguindanao del Sur provincial capitol in Buluan town.

Maguindanao del Sur LGU

In a place where titles and ranks are held high, convincing candidates to step aside is a surefire manner to defuse heated rivalries and enduring “rido” or clan feud

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – The number of unopposed candidates in Maguindanao del Sur for the October barangay elections will further increase, local leaders said.

Their formula: Get other bets to withdraw and leave a lone unopposed candidate.

In a place where titles and ranks are held high, this is a surefire manner to do away with heated rivalries and enduring “rido” or clan feud. This was the observation of many local officials.

Several local leaders even hinted of ongoing back channeling efforts to get contending parties to agree on having only one bet for a particular village.    

Maguindanao del Sur board member Ahmil Macapendeg cited instances in his place in Ampatuan town, where negotiations were underway “to convince relatives to give way to rival relatives.” They need to get bets in four more villages to agree so the town will have all barangay candidates unopposed.

No rivals

At least 149 barangays in Maguindanao del Sur’s 24 towns have unopposed bets for barangay chair.

In Shariff Saydona Mustapha town, Casana Mangoramas, the town’s election officer, said all candidates are unopposed, from the 16 bets for barangay chair, 113 candidates for barangay council, 16 bets for SK chairman and 102 for youth kagawad.

Six other towns in the province have all their bets for barangay chairman unchallenged.

Maguindanao del Sur election supervisor lawyer Allan Kadon said the towns with unopposed bets for barangay chairman include Datu Anggal Midtimbang town with seven barangays, Datu Hofer town with 11, Datu Unsay town with eight, Guindulungan town with 11 barangays and 13 barangays in Sharif Aguak town.

The province has a total of 6,574 candidates seeking various posts in the October 30 elections.

Son vs father

Speaking over local broadcaster Bandera News, Maguindanao del Sur governor Mariam Mangudadatu expressed optimism that there would be more unopposed bets for barangay chair to be declared before the elections.

She said negotiations were being done previously with rival relatives to avoid heated rivalries, be at peace with each other and perhaps agree among themselves into having a single candidate.

The list of candidates in the province show relatives pitting against each other, there is even a son against father.

If we allow it to continue, there will be those that will be hurt or killed and this will drag on for years as “rido.” Rido is a violent clan feud that pit even innocent families against another innocent family.

“This is something that must not happen. It must be avoided before things turn for the worse,” Mangudadatu said.

Elder guides

The elders in the community, as part of a peace mechanism, play a pivotal role in all the efforts being done to prevent violence and rivalry, especially among families, said Nathaniel Midtimbang, the vice governor of Maguindanao del Sur.

“This is why we have a Council of Elders put in place to work hand in hand with the local government units in talking with the parties on the need to have an orderly conduct of elections,” he said.

The elders talk with the candidates on what best options to take, something that already worked in settling rido.

With what the elders are doing, Midtimbang said they hope to have more unopposed candidates. 

This is being done for peace, not for partisanship, he said. – Rappler.com

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