KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/2 September) – North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza appointed on Thursday a former barangay chairman as her deputy governor for Muslims during the culmination day of the province’s 97th Foundation Anniversary and Kalivungan Festival held at the capitol grounds in Barangay Amas here.
Edris Gandalibo, former barangay chairman of Nasapian in Carmen, North Cotabato, is also the secretary-general of the 2/11 Movement, a federation of 14 Moro people’s organizations binding themselves to lead the move in seeking justice “not just for those who were killed in the Buliok attack but (also for) other victims of injustices at the height of the 2003 war.”
After the culmination activity, Mendoza, who also hails from Carmen, explained to reporters that she designated Gandalibo to be her alter-ego to connect her to the Muslim communities.
“This is a huge province with about 35- to 40-percent Muslim population in 113 Muslim-dominated barangays. I personally like him because he can do multitasking like me. It would be better to work with those you personally know because when problems arise, there will be no misinterpretations,” said the governor.
Mendoza added that Gandalibo could assist her in making the program of the province accessible to the far-flung barangays, especially to the Muslims.
Gandalibo, for his part, said that among the tasks he may handle is to assist the governor in resolving land conflicts in the province that has been the common causes of the rido, or family feud.
“Rido has been a problem in some parts of the our province, even in my own barangay and in neighboring areas. But we have resolved some of them through dialogues to avoid escalation of the conflict,” said Gandalibo, who also serves as the chair of the Municipal Agriculture and Fishery Council (MAFC) in Carmen.
He added that many land conflicts in the past have even dragged members or the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and eventually led to skirmishes with government forces.
Meanwhile, Mendoza added that she will name the deputy governor for indigenous peoples as soon as the mandatory representations will be made in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews)