Sports and hugs, not guns

PEOPLE in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have joined hands for a twin fete — to exude bonding and to help reconcile individuals and groups at odds, starting with Family Week and Month of Peace.

ARMM Officer-In-Charge Governor Mujiv Hataman said most cases of conflict in predominantly Muslim areas are rooted on rido, or family feud, which is often likened to martial law. Hataman challenged families who are locked in decades of political or land disputes to instead fight it out in sports events that the regional government has organized in celebration of the peace month and family week.

The Department of Education has declared September 22-30 as Family Week, while the region also joins in the observance of the Month of Peace, holding various sports events participated in by employees of its agencies.

Hataman’s office, in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-ARMM, gathered hundreds of employees at the Shariff Kabunsuan Complex for the family week with the theme, “Ensuring Work-Family Balance.”

Vendetta killings as a result of rido are still prevalent in some parts of the region, hampering reform programs in the new ARMM. Without clans supporting reforms in ARMM, breakthroughs in corruption cannot be overcome.

People in the ARMM have strong family ties. In the hierarchy of influences, the family is second to Almighty God.

Political leaders must help in voters’ education by supporting the ulama in spreading sermons about values of unity and good governance.

It is in the best interest of ARMM to end vote-buying by showing the value of collaboration among governments and communities.

Government must invest in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as the supporting the Sultanates as a traditional institution.

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