Sat. May 25th, 2019

War-torn town turns hall of famer in GAD program

Hall of Fame town – Matanog, Maguindanao Mayor Mohammad Guro and his all-women team, including his wife Jo (seated next to him), pose after receiving award in Gender and Development (GAD) program for 2018 during the “Araw ng Parangal” segment of the just-concluded 3rd Inaul Festival in the province. The award was fourth in four straight years, making Matanog a hall of fame in the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (Photo by Ali G. Macabalang )

COTABATO CITY – Matanog, one of three towns in Maguindanao devastated in the 2000 “all-out war,” has become hall of famer in the government’s Gender and Development (GAD) program implementation. Through the program, it gradually reeled from ruins of war and excelled to receive twice the seal of good local governance (SGLG).

Matanog Mayor Mohammad “Kits” Guro and his all-women support team received their fourth 4th Galing GAD award for 2018 during the “Araw ng Parangal” segment on Feb. 12 of Maguindanao’s 3rd Inaul Festival, which culminated on Valentine’s Day.

Guro and his team received a trophy cum plaque and 100,000-peso cash award from Maguindanao Gov. Esmael G. Mangudadatu assisted by Sittie Jehannie Mutin, chairperson of the Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RCBW-ARMM) and regional GAD program coordinator.

Shaima Agasor-Macadatu, Matanog municipal GAD coordinator, said their local government unit (LGU) also topped the 35 other Maguindanao towns in the annual GAD assessments in 2015, 2016 and 2017, making it the lone town in the ARMM to receive the award in straight four years.

Matanog suffered heavy devastation when the Estrada government declared “all-out war” against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2000, during which the military captured Camp Abubakar, then an MILF main camp, after almost a month of air and ground assaults. The camp comprised Matanog, Barira and Buldon towns.

The town’s governance, according to officials of regional line agencies, had been stunted for decade until resident-women and men developed resilience to bounce back in lime light in 2010 through the GAD program.

R.A. 9710, known as the Magna Carta of Filipino women, defines GAD program as the “development perspective and process that is participatory and empowering (women with) equitable, sustainable, free from violence, human rights-respecting, supportive of self-determination, and actualization of human potentials.”

Sources said the empowerment of women sector in Matanog began in 2010 when Guro, a former interior and local government officer, was elected vice mayor.

“As presiding officer of (Matanog’s) Sangguniang Bayan, Guro developed a 20-year eight-point agenda guiding the LGU operations until now. Guro was elected mayor in 2013 and remained in office to date,” sources said.

In his acceptance speech at the “Araw ng Parangal,” Mayor Guro acknowledged the support of “empowered men and women” in his turf and the “continued guidance” of Mangudadatu, who was also elected governor in 2010 on the heels of public demand for governmental reforms.

“The good stewardship of Governor Mangudadatu helped us a lot. We shall forever treasure your leadership, sir,” Guro said of the provincial chief executive, who is now on his third and final gubernatorial term. (Ali Macabalang)

Ali Macabalang

Ali Macabalang, Senior Correspondent of The Manila Bulletin, Tempo newspapers and various private and government media entities in different positions, one of very few Filipino Muslim scribes that newspapers readers may have noticed their bylines in various stories on different issues.