Officials settled clan wars in Basilan, Maguindanao

Officials settled clan wars in Basilan, Maguindanao

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Local officials settled Friday two bloody clan wars, one in Basilan and the other in Maguindanao, via separate peace covenants reached after tedious dialogues that lasted for months.   

The reconciliation of the families of Datunoey Pandita and Salahudin Ulama in Guindulungan town in the second district of Maguindanao was brokered by the leading datu in the municipality, Midpantao Midtimbang.

Midtimbang is a member of the 80-seat parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

It took Midtimbang and officials of the Guindulungan local government unit a long time to convince the two groups to put a negotiated closure to their “rido” that exacted fatalities on both sides.

Rido means clan war in the Maguindanaon vernacular, mostly triggered either by affronts on family pride and honor, or land disputes, or political rivalries.

There is high prevalence of rido cases in areas where there are few courts and state prosecutors that people can turn to in seeking redress.

The amicable settlement of the conflict between the Pandita and Ulama clans was preceded by the reconciliation earlier Friday of the feuding groups, led by Matarul Kotoy and Jumlie Orie, in Lantawan, Basilan.

The Kotoy and Orie families conceded to a settlement of their rido through the efforts of Lantawan municipal officials, among them Vice Mayor Nasser Abubakar and Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman.

Reports from the Basilan provincial police office said Lantawan’s police chief, Captain Said Omar Esmail, officials of the Army’s 4th Special Forces Battalion and the 104th Brigade were instrumental in defusing the tension between the Kotoy and Orie families.

The rido between the two groups affected thousands of villagers in adjoining Barangays Bawungis and Bagbagun in Lantawan, one of 11 towns in the island province of Basilan.

Brig. Gen. Marni Marcos, director of the Bangsamoro regional police, said he was elated with how local officials ended the two clan wars via diplomatic initiatives.

Maguindanao and Basilan are both component-provinces of the Bangsamoro region that also covers Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan.