Warring Maguindanao clans reunite through BARMM mediation
COTABATO CITY — Inside the office of Bangsamoro interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim on Wednesday, February 15, a small crowd of people turned emotional as the leaders of two erstwhile warring clans in Maguindanao del Norte hugged each other.
Former Barira Mayor Barok Tomawis and Dr. Ibrahim Ibay, former mayor of Parang town, then exchanged the traditional Islamic pleasantry of “peace be with you” which also elicits the response “peace be upon you, too.”
The crowd then burst into a festive mood, welcoming a new beginning for the Ibay and Tomawis clans who have been locked in a political feud for over a decade.
The clans are based in the Iranun-dominated towns of Parang, Barira and Buldon where they slugged it out at every election in a contest for local political power.
But on Wednesday, as a sign of moving on, the clan leaders no longer talked about the casualties of the feud, also as a way of giving way to “the healing process.”
“Our family commits to peace. The national government is giving us the opportunity and the faith to establish peace and develop our communities, it will go to waste if we are not united,” Tomawis said.
Ibay said his family is sincere in putting an end to the “rido.”
“We came over to offer our hand of peace with the Tomawis clan. We used to be united as one but politics divided us,” Ibay said.
“Now, we agree to unite anew in the name of peace. Our respective supporters and people suffer the most if we do not reconcile. Let us move forward in the name of peace,” Ibay added.
Ebrahim presided over the reconciliation ceremony of the clans to indicate that rido resolution is a key reconciliation and unification track of the Bangsamoro leadership.
Ebrahim said the settlement was a mutual decision of both parties, upon the mediation of the Bangsamoro government.
“Everyone knows that this reconciliation has no pre-condition, both sides have no request whatsoever in exchange for the dispute settlement,” Ebrahim said.
Efforts to reunite the Ibay and Tomawis clans started last year.
Ebrahim said the Bangsamoro government has adopted a holistic approach to unite the Bangsamoro, noting that “rido” involving huge Moro families, if remained unsolved, will hamper progress and development across the region.
“We want all of us to unite regardless of our political affiliations and convictions,” the chief minister said.
Bangsamoro Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said political and security issues must be resolved first before development sets in across the region.
“We cannot promote development in areas where there is violence,” Sinarimbo explained.
Those who witnessed the reconciliation rites provincial and regional political leaders, 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera, and 1st Marine Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Eric Macaambac whose unit is based in Barira town.