Cotabato beauty backs Mindanao peace process

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KIDAPAWAN CITY, Cotabato: “Dream on, keep struggling. That’s life. Sometimes we’re down and sometimes we gain something good we can be proud of. I shall always be a proud child of Cotabato.”

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Those are the words of Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Mary Jean “MJ” Lastimosa who expressed support for the Mindanao peace process during her trip home where she was greeted by thousands of fellow Cotabateños.

No less than 10,000 people—mostly from Tulunan town in North Cotabato and other parts of the province—showed up at the provincial capitol in Barangay Amas when Lastimosa arrived.

Lastimosa said the current peace pact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was one of her vital concerns as a beauty queen.

The Arab-Visayan beauty said she hopes to be like Mother Theresa who promoted peaceful coexistence and stressed that the formation of a Bangsamoro region in Mindanao must be supported.

Six towns of North Cotabato, including the hometown of Lastimosa, are covered by the proposed Bangsamoro new autonomous political region that will be finalized next year.

Lastimosa thanked her supporters, especially provincial Governor Emmylou Mendoza and other officials for helping her morally and financially.

“Please continue supporting me with more prayers. Hopefully, I can bring you the crown of the Miss Universe pageant and give more honor to our province,” she said.

Lastimosa, who will represent the country in the coming Miss Universe pageant, won the title “Mutya ng Tulunan” in 2003 and was crowned “Mutya ng Davao” in 2008.

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