Business Mirror : Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao leaders, families declare support for UniTeam

7 February 2022

By Business Mirror

THE UniTeam’s campaign for the May elections has received a boost from big and influential families from Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao provinces.

The endorsement for the candidacies of Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. and Inday Sara Duterte was made at the recent 5th Kudaraten Festival in Sultan Kudarat town, which was attended by Maguindanao Governor Mariam Mangudadatu, Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto ‘Teng’ Mangudadatu, Maguindanao Vice-Governor Lester Sinsuat, Member of Parliament Datu Tucao Mastura, Sultan Kudarat Mayor Datu Shameem Mastura, Talayan Mayor Datu Ali Midtimbang and some incumbent officials who will run in the two provinces.

Also at the celebration were Davao City Mayor Sebastian ‘Baste’ Duterte who represented his sister Sara; Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor and LMP President Chavit Singson, former presidential spokesperson and senatorial aspirant Harry Roque, and representatives of Tingog Partylist.

The local leaders pledged their support for the tandem and explained why they support the UniTeam.

Sultan Kudarat Governor Mangudadatu said they see Bongbong and Sara  as the right team who can usher in progress, peace, and stability in the region.

“Cooperation among members of our family alliance resulted in peace in Maguindanao. The misery of our countrymen in the war zones has been addressed and there is now peace there,” Mangudadatu said, mostly in Filipino.

He added that “the next president, Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio,” can rely on solid support from the provinces of Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao.”

The so-called Family Alliance includes the families of Midtimbang, Sinsuat, Mastura, Ampatuan and several other influential families in the two provinces.

For his part, Parliament Member Datu Tucao Mastura recalled his experience with former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. who entrusted to him the leadership of the Sultan Kudarat municipality after he abandoned rebellion to live a law-abiding life.

“I owe a big debt of gratitude to him [BBM], his family, and his father. Why? Because I was a former rebel and I spent several years in the mountains to fight for the Bangsamoro,” Mastura explained, mostly speaking in Filipino.

He said he thought about his situation very well, and decided that the only way forward was for him to rejoin the mainstream. “And when I did, then President Marcos appointed me mayor of Sultan Kudarat. From 1976 onward, there has been no more fighting here in Sultan Kudarat Municipality between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the rebels,” added Datu Tucao.

Marcos Jr. welcomed the unification of the so-called family alliance of the provinces of Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao at the call of BBM-Sara UniTeam. He described the move as a “unity for the collective uprising of the Philippines and the opening of equal and many opportunities in every region of the country.”

He told the local leaders, “You have begun to understand that the alliances are what make us strong and unity is the way forward, then that is when we can see the opportunities that will arise.”