MILF candidate for Cotabato City mayor assumes office

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Cotabato City, Philippines

The official candidate for mayor in Cotabato City of the fledgling political party of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who won on May 9 elections assumed office on Thursday, June 30.

Mayor Bruce Matabalao, who ran under the banner of the MILF’s United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), said he will focus on peace and development initiatives that would benefit Moro and non-Moro communities.

He defeated reelectionist Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi.

Matabalao’s running-mate, Butch Abu, elected Cotabato City vice mayor, also reported to office on Thursday.

Abu shall act as presiding chairperson of the Cotabato City Sangguniang Panglunsod.

Matabalao had served as a member of the Cotabato City Council.

He resigned last year as city councilor to join the BARMM government as a career service official but eventually got anointed as UBJP’s candidate for Cotabato City mayor, along with Abu as running-mate.

Senior UBJP officials and BARMM executives attended Matabalao’s assumption to office, which was held at the Cotabato City People’s Palace, seat of the local government unit.

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Matabalao had earlier said his administration will focus on peace and development initiatives centered on all three groups in the city, the Moro, non-Moro, or Christian communities and the indigenous people.

He had also said he shall work closely with the barangay governments, the Cotabato City Police Office and the military in maintaining law and order in all four corners of Cotabato City. (John Unson

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