MAMASAPANO, Maguindanao: Normalcy is slowly returning to this devastated community in Maguindanao with regional government agencies attending to the needs of affected families, Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Sunday said.
To prove that, Hataman brought his “special guests” – action star Cesar Montano and TV commedin Giselle Sanches here over the weekend.
“We would like to dispel some media reports that Maguindanao is one community that should be avoided, Cesar and Giselle saw for themselves the area is peaceful and people live simply,” Hataman told reporters in a pep talk as the group returned to Cotabato City.
Hataman said he brought Montano and Sanchez in the village of Tukanalipao, site of bloody encounter on January 25 that left 44 elite police force, 18 Moro rebels and five civilians as part of psycho-social intervention on the locals who have been traumatized by the conflict.
In that encounter, government forces killed Malaysian Zulkifpli Bin Hir alias “Marwan” but his Filipino aide Basit Usman escaped.
“People smiled, welcomed and satisfied seeing personalities they only see on television,” said Hataman.
The two performed during the Friday night “Kantakapayapaan,” a peace concert organized by Hataman in his efforts to normalize the situation and continue pushing for peace.
Both expressed opposition to calls by some sectors for an all-out war in Mindanao.
“Walang mabuting maidudulot sa atin ang giyera, kailangan tayong mag-usap (War does not bring us anything good, we need to talk to resolve misunderstanding),” Montano told the Tukanalipao crowd.
Sanchez said she was sad children in Tukanalipao and nearby communities have to live in the midst of conflict. “I hope peace talks will continue,” she said. PNA