By Ali G. Macabalang
The Asia Foundation (TAF) has sponsored a research on rido incidence in the Bangsamoro region, even as a relative of the incumbent mayor in Malabang, Lanao del Sur was slain Wednesday in an ambush believed to be a clannish war-related case.
A contracted team has just finalized agreement on Wednesday for the start of its research in Lanao del Sur when field reports broke about the killing on the spot of Rauf “Indawi” Malawani, said to be an uncle of Malabang Mayor Mohammad yahya “Tomas” Macapodi, by armed men that waylaid him about 4p.m. that day.
Mayor Macapodi was quoted as appealing to relatives and political supporters to observe sobriety and let authorities to identify the perpetrators (aboard three SUV cars), arrest and prosecute them.
The mayor’s plea came as some relatives believed that Malawani was “neutralized” from replicating in the 2022 elections the way he helped mapped out systematic platforms leading to Macapodi’s first mayoral victory in 2019 .
Malabang, a progressive town in the coastal district of Lanao del Sur, had once grabbed media attention when the political rival clans of Montañer and Balindong figured in bloody vendetta that stemmed from intense mayoral race in the past, and left at least five prominent members of both clans.
The Montañer-Balindong clannish was settled in 2015 by police, military and civilian authorities led by Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Alonto-Adiong Jr., who reportedly chipped out hefty sum of cash as “blood money” to cap off his years of mediatory negotiations.
The Balindong clan has been ruling Malabang town since the Marcos regime until political neophyte Macapodi defeated his rivals – Rusty Balindong and Arrie Balindong.
The TAF-contracted research team has scheduled an episode in Malabang in its planned visits to other Lanao del Sur towns known with rido cases to unearth causes of the armed disputes, and gather data on methods applied in the settlement of those patched-up rivalries.
TAF has also contracted other research teams for communities in Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, also component provinces of the Bangsamoro government.
Rahib Nando, TAF capacity development specialist for the autonomous region, said the results of the research will be analyzed and compiled alongside recommended approaches for amicably settling of rido incidents in the region.
Military and police authorities, in several past reports, classified rido cases as one of major factors affecting peace and security situations and, thus, stunting development strides in the Bangsamoro region. They have pointed initially to political rivalry, property dispute, and “violation” of tribal pride (maratabat), among others.
Nando said the compiled findings and suggested solutions by the research teams will serve as part of references by one or more members of the Bangasamoro parliament to sponsor a bill stipulating approaches on settling existing rido cases in the region, and preventing minor incidents from escalating to armed feuds. AGM