Only 5 Out of 91 Party-List Groups from Mindanao

Apr. 03, 2007

By Tyrone Velez

DAVAO CITY — Of the 91 partylists vying for the 2007 elections, five are based in Mindanao. Four of them represent Moro and indigenous sectors while the other carries the causes of farmers and fisherfolk in Southern Mindanao.

The party-list system aims to ensure the representation in the House of Representatives of so-called marginalized sectors. Under Republic Act 7941, the country’s party-list law, 20 percent or at least 50 seats — of the membership of the Congress should be allotted to groups representing these sectors. (Read the primer on the party-list system.)

ALIF (Ang Laban ng Indiginong Filipino)

A report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism said that as a first time party in the 2004 elections, ALIF managed to win the most number of votes in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) from just four of its provinces. But discrepancies in the total of votes, especially in Lanao del Sur, one of the provinces that ALIF topped, led Cibac, another partylist group, to question the results.

Nevertheless, Acmad Tomawis, a longtime official who served various positions from OIC mayor of Marawi, executive director of the Office of Muslim Affairs and assemblyman of the ARMM, sits as the ALIF representative. The group has sponsored five bills, which focused on education and benefits for students, and on overseas workers.

AMIN (Anak Mindanao)
AMIN has been in Congress twice, the last in 2004, with Basilan-born Mujiv Hataman as its representative. The group has sponsored bills and has conducted inquiries on peace, corruption and human rights particularly in Moro communities in Mindanao. AMIN, which was founded in 1997, advocates Mindanao peace and development through tri-people unity.

ASSALAM (Assalam Bangsamoro People’s Party)

The group chose the name “Assalam,” an Arabic word for peace, to depict the aspiration of the Moro people for peace. This party represents the tribes in the ARMM and other areas where Moro communities are found. The party seeks to develop and implement electoral reforms to reflect the sentiments of the Bangsamoro. Its nominees are Bai Sittie Zohora Montaer-Mindalano and Penny Disimban.

BAHANDI (Bahandi sa Kaumahan ug Kadagatan Foundation Inc.)
BAHANDI claims to have more than 50,000 card-bearing members composed of farmers and fisherfolk in Region 11 or the Southern Mindanao region. The group started as a loose organization 11 years ago until it was organized into a foundation in 2002. It was chaired by Davao City councilor Pilar Braga. It has served the marginalized groups through livelihood projects, seminars (transfer of technology), social services such as free medical clinics, eye check-ups and others. BAHANDI’s nominee representative is its president Jun Tapiador.

SUARA (Suara Bangsamoro)

Suara, which is the Maguindanao word for “voice,” seeks to be Moro people’s voice in Congress. It aims to uphold the Bangsamoro people’s right to self-determination, promote a politics of self-reliance and progressive interaction between the Moro and Filipino peoples, push for genuine economic reforms to help eradicate poverty in Moro areas, and forge peace not only in Mindanao but in the rest of the country.

The group was organized in March 18, 2002, coinciding with the Jabidah Massacre commemoration. The party ran in 2004 but lost. It later claimed that its votes were shaved in many areas of the ARMM and that it was a victim of the Garci scandal that involved alleged massive cheating in Mindanao to benefit President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Suara is represented by Zaynab Ampatuan, Amirah Ali Lidasan, and Samaon Sammy Buat, all Mindanao-based nominees. (Tyrone Velez/

[tags]davao today, mindanao, philippine politics, 2007 elections, party-list system, muslim, moro[/tags]

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