NorthCot town officials have mixed feelings on CAB

Aleosan Mayor Vicente Sorupia believes the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro will put an end to the years of conflict that has displaced many of his constituents. MindaNews photo by Keith Bacongco

Aleosan Mayor Vicente Sorupia believes the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro will put an end to the years of conflict that has displaced many of his constituents. MindaNews photo by Keith Bacongco

ALEOSAN, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 26 March) – On the eve of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday (March 27), local government officials of this former embattled town have mixed feelings.

Mayor Vicente Sorupia said he is supportive of the peace deal and hoping that it will put an end to the years of conflict that led to the displacement of his constituents in the previous wars.

But for Vice Mayor Eduardo Cabaya, his childhood experiences in the hands of Moro rebels have left a deep scar in his heart and mind, making him worried than hopeful in the signing of the peace deal.

Sorupia recounted how the people suffered in the evacuation centers in times of war and how war affected the livelihood of the civilians.

The mayor said he is hoping that the peace agreement would change the image of his town, which had been the battleground of the government forces and Moro fighters in the past.

“Before, we were perceived as a very chaotic place. But now we harmoniously coexist with our brothers Lumads and Muslims. Of course this does not mean a hundred-percent peace. But we cannot achieve peace by fighting each other,” Sorupia noted.

Worried than hopeful

Cabaya, who grew up in Barangay Bagolibas, told MindaNews that he is never hopeful that the CAB will absolutely bring peace in Mindanao.

The proposed Bangsamoro government, he said, may not even succeed, adding that he is cynical that the MILF can lead their people.

He fears that some Moro rebels would tend to abuse their power once they will be running the Bangsamoro government.

“I have seen the abuses of these rebels since I was a kid. It has left a deep scar in my heart, in the hearts of the people in Aleosan. They have shown abuses in the past, how much more when they will be in power?” asked Cabaya, who had led members of local militias in the frontlines during the war in 2008.

He was then the village chief of Bagolibas when former MILF commander and now Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) commander Ameril Umra Kato attacked the village in August 2008.

Kato and his men went on a rampage after the failed signing of the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD). The war displaced over half million people after it spilled in different parts of Mindanao.

But Vice Mayor Eduardo Cabaya believes that to achieve peace, the government should either disarm all people in Mindanao or to arm everyone so that nobody would take advantage of each other. MindaNews photo by Keith Bacongco

But Vice Mayor Eduardo Cabaya believes that to achieve peace, the government should either disarm all people in Mindanao or to arm everyone so that nobody would take advantage of each other. MindaNews photo by Keith Bacongco

Cabaya cited the peace pact between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), saying that the Moro group had already failed to govern its people.

He noted that following the peace pact in 1996, billions of pesos have been poured in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but failed to improve the lives of the people, and peace remains unstable.

In his childhood years, Cabaya recalled, the people in his town were not armed.

“We were forced to arm ourselves because the Moro rebels were very abusive. There were times that we could not eat our breakfast because they were already strafing our houses early in the morning. Our coffee and rice would mix up because we scampered for cover while eating our breakfast,” he recounted, holding back tears.

He admitted that recalling his childhood would still make him emotional even during public forums.

Bagolibas, which sits in the periphery of this town, was a battleground in the war between the military and Moro rebels.

Cabaya said Moro rebels had strafed his uncles and cousins while working on their farms, but fortunately none were hit.

He said his family had evacuated dozens of times, blood sometimes dripping from the wounds in his feet as they fled on board a carabao sled. “I was about five years old then. How could I just forget that?” he asked.

While he hopes that this would never happen again to his children, Cabaya admitted that he is still wary of the other Moro rebel groups. “What about the BIFF and the MNLF? They are still armed.” he warned.

“For me, to achieve peace is to either disarm all people in Mindanao or to arm everyone so that nobody would take advantage of each other,” Cabaya said.

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2014/03/26/northcot-town-officials-have-mixed-feelings-on-cab/

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  • Islam

    Mr. Cabaya, Saan po kayo galing na lugar, sa Vusayas ba or sa Luzon? ang mganegosyante parents mo ay taga Visayas ba or taga Luzon? Alamo Cabaya noong 1960s ay negoyante ng Kalabao ang papa ko at sila Former Empire Cotabato Governor Datu Udtog Matalam, ang mga kalabao po ay kinukuha or binibili nila galing Visayas, sa Cebu at Iloilo.. Tuwing sila ay uuwi ng Cotabato pagkagaling ng Cebu at Iloilo na may dala nang mga kalabao ay Nagdadala rin sila ng mga tao na mga Bisaya galing Cebu at Iloilo upang matulungan at na makapag farm sa Cotabato Provence.. Mapagmahal po ang mga Muslim sa Cotabato Province.. Kalauna po ay dumami ng dumami ang lahi ng mga taga Cebu at Iloilo sa Cotabato Province at ito nna ang daan nila(mga Cebuano at Ilonggo) na mawala ang respeto ng mga taga Cebu at Ilioilo sa mga Datu ng Cotabato.. Hangang sa ngayon ay ito na ang katunayan, kayo na mismo ang namumuno bilang Vice Mayor ng Aleosan.. Bakit po kinalimutan ninyo ang inyong pinagmulan? Paano niyo masabi na kayo ang inagawan ng karapatan na sa ngayon ay kayo ang nakaupo at sumusweldo sa Internal Allotment ng inyong Municipyo? Yang po ang dahilan kung bakit kayo nakaranas ng pang straffing sa inyo ng mga Muslim kung totoo man dahil di na kayo rumerespeto sa inyong Datu.. totoo ba? Sino na ngayon ang Mayor ng Matalam, North Cotabato? di ba Vadeviso na isang taga Visayas?

  • Islam

    Mr. Cabaya, Saan po kayo galing na lugar, sa Vusayas ba or sa Luzon? ang mganegosyante parents mo ay taga Visayas ba or taga Luzon? Alamo Cabaya noong 1960s ay negoyante ng Kalabao ang papa ko at sila Former Empire Cotabato Governor Datu Udtog Matalam, ang mga kalabao po ay kinukuha or binibili nila galing Visayas, sa Cebu at Iloilo.. Tuwing sila ay uuwi ng Cotabato pagkagaling ng Cebu at Iloilo na may dala nang mga kalabao ay Nagdadala rin sila ng mga tao na mga Bisaya galing Cebu at Iloilo upang matulungan at na makapag farm sa Cotabato Provence.. Mapagmahal po ang mga Muslim sa Cotabato Province.. Kalauna po ay dumami ng dumami ang lahi ng mga taga Cebu at Iloilo sa Cotabato Province at ito nna ang daan nila(mga Cebuano at Ilonggo) na mawala ang respeto ng mga taga Cebu at Ilioilo sa mga Datu ng Cotabato.. Hangang sa ngayon ay ito na ang katunayan, kayo na mismo ang namumuno bilang Vice Mayor ng Aleosan.. Bakit po kinalimutan ninyo ang inyong pinagmulan? Paano niyo masabi na kayo ang inagawan ng karapatan na sa ngayon ay kayo ang nakaupo at sumusweldo sa Internal Allotment ng inyong Municipyo? Yang po ang dahilan kung bakit kayo nakaranas ng pang straffing sa inyo ng mga Muslim kung totoo man dahil di na kayo rumerespeto sa inyong Datu.. totoo ba? Sino na ngayon ang Mayor ng Matalam, North Cotabato? di ba Vadeviso na isang taga Visayas?

    • concern citizen

      hoy islam alam mo kung ano talaga nangyari sa mindanao kung sino yung nang gulo diyan. na umaatake sa ma nga civilian ,sample ano ang nangyari doon sa zamboanga city sino ang nanggulo doon diba alam

      • ISLAM

        WALANG NAGGULO SA MINDANAO KUNDI KAYO MGA KRISTIANO NA GUSTONG UMANGKIN KALUPAAN DITO SA LUPA NG MGA MUSLIM SA MINDANAO.. HINDI PO TOTOO NA MAY GYERA SA ZAMBOAANGA.. NAKIKINIG KA KASI SA BALITA SA TELEVISION AT RADYO.. GAMITIN MO ANG UTAK MO AT MATA MO.. WAG NA KAYO MAG KUNWARI MGA KRISTIANO.. BALIK NA KAYO SA VISAYAS.. WALA KAYONG LUPA DITO SA COTABATO PROVINCE.. MANG AAGAW KAYO NG LUPA.. TINGNAN NINYO ANG MGA TITOLO NG MGA LUPA NINYO, MGA TRANSFER CERTIFCATE OF TITLE LANG HINDI ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE.. LUPA ANG DAHILAN SA ZAMBOANGA.. LUPA NA GUSTO NG MAYOR AY MAG ALISAN ANG MGA BADJAO SA RIO HONDO UPANG MAKAMKAM NILA ANG MGA LUPAIN NA PUBLIC LANG NA PAGMAMAYARI NG MUSLIM NA BADJAO..ALIS KA NA DITO SA NORTH COTABATO, UWI KA NA SA VISAYAS..