Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sultan Kudarat town aims for nat’l recognition

SULTAN KUDARAT TOWN IN Shariff Kabunsuan is the only local government unit in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to have reached the finals of this year’s Gawad Galing Pook award.

Mayor Shajida Mastura-Bandila attributed the effort to the town’s program on transparency through its information and communications technology (ICT). Sultan Kudarat passed the regional and national level searches, screening and site validation visits conducted by the Gawad Galing Pook Foundation Inc.

The ICT system helped make transparent to the public the fiscal and program accountabilities of officials, as well as transactions in the municipal government. The Top Ten LGU Gawad Galing Pook recipients will be announced later this month.

Success story

Mastura-Bandila said she presented her town’s ICT success story in a recent panel forum and individual interview with the Board of Judges at the Ateneo de Manila University. She credited the Local Government Support Program in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (LGSPA) of the Canada International Development Agency for ICT development.

Since there was hardly a Muslim-run LGU making it to the national tilt, Marion Villanueva, LGSPA field program manager, said sectoral representatives in the Muslim region were also searching for an ARMM indigenous equivalent of the Gawad Galing Pook annual award—“one which could be acceptable to Moro tribal groups in the region.”

The ARMM is composed of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan.

Besting 247 LGUs nationwide, Mastura-Bandila said her town, named after the 17th-century Muslim hero Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat I, should be noted for its rich historical roots.
Filipino historian Ambeth Ocampo said he was saddened that local historians and officials decided to place Kudarat’s monument in Cotabato City to the left side of Dr. Jose Rizal’s, and “not made to stand on equal footing” and face-to-face with the city’s monument of the national hero.

‘King of Mindanao’

Ocampo had reason to criticize the decision in his speech during the 2005 monument unveiling ceremony: The Filipino national pride in Sultan Kudarat, known to 18th Century Spanish chroniclers, including Francisco Combes, as the “King of Mindanao,” who repelled 11 Spanish expeditions to Mindanao, Basilan and Ternate (now Indonesian territory) on Borneo Island.
Historians trace Rizal’s generation link with Kudarat through the national hero’s annotation of the Spanish book, “Socesos de las Islas Filipinas” (Events in the Philippine Islands) by Antonio de Morga.

Rizal defended Kudarat’s uncle Rajah Silongan who was accused of “treachery” in Morga’s book for the killing of Capitan Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa, leader of the first Spanish Expedition to Mindanao in 1599.

The late Moro historian, Dr. Alunan Glang, said little was known of such “historical fact” and that by disputing Morga, Rizal first incurred the ire of Spanish authorities in his stint in Madrid.

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