Marawi elections

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“The Maranaws have not mended their errant ways and as political sage Santayana warned, they will be victims again.

Marawi residents trooped to the polls yesterday, 22 September for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. These past weeks saw Marawi (areas outside ground zero) agog with candidates and political cadres jostling for voters in the run-up to the election.

Recall that the election in Marawi was postponed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) because residents were still recovering from post-traumatic disorder brought by the siege and the threat to the security of the place.

The electoral process is significant in more ways than one. It is a therapeutic aid in their psychological and psychiatric healing as they struggle towards a normal life after their harrowing and horrific nightmare. And it could be an opportune time for them to engage in soul-searching and introspection, to perhaps mend their errant unislamic ways which provoked, in a way, the wrath of Allah SWT.

Setting aside the many factors that are seen to conspire leading to the attack of the city and its wreck, the hard core fundamentalists attributed the tragic war to punishment of Allah SWT for the tendency of residents to violate the teachings of the Holy Koran and Hadith Al-Sharif (teachings of Prophet Mohamad, PBUH) and their gullibility to the influence of corrupt and debased ways of modernity and westernization. The destruction of their “Islamic City” is of a magnitude proximate to what befell the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Crimes like kidnappings for ransom, rape, rido-inspired murders and illegal drug trade permeated the city before the war. Some political leaders were linked to narco-politics which accounted for their inclusion in the list prepared by the martial law administrator for arrest. Narco-money was flouted unashamedly to build mansion-like residences and used to buy votes. Voters Registration Books were padded with flying or ghost registrants and Christians from nearby towns were lured with money for registration in the controlled precincts to be substituted come election time.

The election yesteday, by legislative mandate is supposed to be apolitical. Unfortunately, this is more honored in the breach than in the observance. Muslim clerics have condemned vote-buying, cheating, terrorism and other forms of poll anomalies as unislamic, yet we see the same cycle of irregularities committed by recidivists capos and manipulators election after election.

In the past days of heated campaigning, politics has reared its ugly head. The trademark 3 “Gs” – gold, goons and guns – of dirty politics were employed publicly and unabashedly by the trapos or traditional politicians and their cadres. The Maranaws have not mended their errant ways and as political sage Santayana warned, they will be victims again.

There may be problem attracting registered voters to participate. A considerable number has been uprooted by the war and evacuated to places as far away as Luzon and the Visayas where their relatives engage in trade. Their whereabout posed a problem while some are scattered in various temporary shelters and evacuation centers. The Comelec faced the problem on where to house the precincts for areas where structures were entirely flattened by bombs.

However, given the fact that the Maranaws are one of the most politicized closed-knit tribes, we expect their enthusiasm to return and participate in the hustings, especially with the promise of money or because of kinship with candidates.

We await with bated breath the result. There are barangays where candidates are unopposed either because of the strong political hold of one clan or after the Malay-cultural practice of mushawara or consultation among community leaders. Still, a considerable number remains hotly contested.

“The destruction of their “Islamic City” is of a magnitude proximate to what befell the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

We wish for the victory of upright leaders because of their participation in the rebuilding of the city. Knowing how Task Force Bangon Marawi chair Gen. Eduardo del Rosario works, there will be close coordination and running consultation with the new leaders of the barangays and the youth sectors. They will have a big say in the rehabilitation project.

Incidentally, this policy of involvement by the TFBM is a far cry from its formative days when incredibly the head of the local government units (LGU) affected by the war, the Governor of Lanao del Sur and the Mayor of Marawi City were not made members of the TFBM. This mistake is being rectified by Del Rosario with constant consultation and participation of the LGU and stakeholders.

Our collective prayer for the righteous to win over those corrupt so that they can help build a new city, infrastructurally and spiritually, out of the ruins inflicted by jihadists of fake Islam.

Email: amb_mac_lanto@yahoo.com

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