From the Philippine Star (May 13): MNLF leader says confident to win polls
The chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front, Cotabato City Vice-Mayor Muslimin Sema, who is a mayoral candidate of the Liberal Party, feeds a ballot into a Precinct Count Optical Scanner with the help of a Muslim teacher at the Muamad Elementary School in Kakar area in the city. John Unson
The chairman of the largest group in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is optimistic he will win in the race for the city’s mayoral post.
Cotabato City Vice-Mayor Muslimin Sema, chairman of the biggest of at least three groups in the MNLF, expressed confidence that the patience he had shown amid the mudslinging and black propaganda will sway votes in his favor.
Sema, who belongs to the Liberal Party, is contesting the re-election bid of Cotabato City Mayor Japan Guiani Jr. Sema, as a senior MNLF official, helped craft the group’s September 2, 1996 final peace accord with government.
As MNLF chairman, Sema wields influence over some 50,000 followers scattered in their more than 20 “revolutionary states” in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Palawan.
He said his followers voted for aspirants for local and national positions President Benigno Aquino III endorsed as LP candidates.
Some 30,000 voters and campaigners of Sema attended the LP’s miting-de-avance Friday at the parade grounds of the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College here.
Sema’s spouse, Sandra, is seeking re-election as congressional representative of the first district of Maguindanao and Cotabato City.
Sema cast his vote past 8:00 a.m. Monday at the Muamad Elementary School in Kakar area here, accompanied by relatives and supporters.
Sema had served as undefeated three-term city mayor before he was elected vice-mayor during the 2010 local elections.
The pupils of around 30 Madaris of the city participated in mental and physical competitions. There were also competition on reciting the Holy Qur’an, Azhan (call for prayer), and singing among the little delegates.
Sports competitions include basketball, volleyball, badminton, track and field and running high and long jumps.
Primary pupils participated in spelling and arranging alphabets while intermediate pupils joined quiz bee such as General Information. There were also parlor games such as throwing eggs for female students.
Musabaqa is the most awaited citywide event among the young Muslims of the city. “It is where pupils from different Madaris meet and know each other thereby strengthening unity among our young Muslims,” said Ustadz Badrosabah Alanga, President of General Santos City Madaris Federation.
“More than developing sportsmanship among our young generation, we are also getting them away from vices like taking drugs, alcoholism or smoking through sports,” he pointed out.
The event was supported by the Local Government of General Santos City and Madaris Parents and Teachers Association in every Madrasa.
The support to Madaris education is facilitated by the Office on Cultural Communities under the Office of the City Mayor. More than a hundred Asatidz of the city receive monthly honorarium of P3,000.
Madaris learners acquire Islamic values, Arabic literacy, mathematics, science, history, Hadith (sayings of the Prophet) and Islamic ideology in Madaris. Classes that are held every Saturday and Sunday. The city has more than four thousand Madaris students.
Public elementary schools also offers Arabic Literacy and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE) subject. Most public schools in the city where there are considerable population of Muslim pupils have ALIVE teachers.