Ex-MILF leader runs for provincial board in South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 October) — A former leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in South Cotabato filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) on Tuesday afternoon for a provincial board seat in the province’s first district.

Nadsid Abedin Akmad, 50, was the second aspirant for any provincial position who filed a COC at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office in nearby Koronadal City since the five-day filing
period opened last Monday.

Former Koronadal City Mayor Fernando Miguel was the first aspirant who filed his COC on Monday afternoon as the official gubernatorial candidate of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats.

Akmad, who is a former youth sector representative at the municipal council of Polomolok town in South Cotabato during the early 80s, said he decided to seek a provincial board seat to bring the cause of the province’s Muslims and Lumads or indigenous peoples to a higher level.

He said his candidacy was endorsed by various Muslim and Lumad groups in the province that have long been pushing for proper representation in the provincial government.

“We need a representative in the provincial board to ensure that our voices are heard,” he told reporters after filing his COC.

Akmad, who is popularly known as Kumander Bong Faisal, is a former administrative officer of the defunct 204th Brigade of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces that was previously based in his
hometown Polomolok in South Cotabato.

At the height of the government’s all-out-war against the MILF in May 2000 as declared by then President Joseph Estrada, Akmad led around 100 members of his unit in taking over a portion of the national highway in Tupi town in South Cotabato and a nearby plant of fruit giant Dole Philippines.

His unit also figured in a separate siege then of the Palian bridge at the boundary of Tupi town and Koronadal City.

Police filed brigandage charges against Akmad and several of his men but it was later dropped after he voluntarily surrendered along with 21 members of his unit in August 2001 to then Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr.

His surrender was facilitated then by police and Army officials in the area who were under the Philippine Military Academy’s Class ’83, of which Akmad was a member before he dropped out from the academy.

After his surrender, Akmad turned to farming and assisted the government’s peace building efforts and interfaith dialogues in his hometown. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)

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