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Candidates in BARMM identified with MNLF elected

COTABATO CITY — Some 300 aspirants in the Bangsamoro region for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan posts identified with the Moro National Liberation Front got elected on Monday, for peace advocates beneficial to the southern peace process.

Local government officials in the autonomous region are expecting the proclamation within the next 36 hours of no fewer than 200 more winning candidates who are either children or relatives of MNLF leaders in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

In Cotabato City alone, a senior member of the MNLF, Datun Diocolono, was elected uncontested as chairman of Barangay Tamontaka 5 while four others, who are closely related to leaders of the front, got to the helm of the barangay governments in Poblacion 8, Rosary Heights 7, Rosary Heights 11 and Mother Tamontaka with wide leads in the tally of votes canvassed after Monday’s polling in different school campuses.

Mohammad Ali Jawawi Sema, son of MNLF chairman Muslimin Sema, who is labor and employment secretary of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, has been proclaimed winner in the two-cornered race for barangay chairman of Mother Tamontaka in Cotabato City

Barangay Mother Tamontaka, along the Tamontaka River that springs from the upland Liguasan Delta and drains in the west coast of Cotabato City, is a historic settlement established in the 18th century by Spaniards and where Spanish Jesuit missionaries, subsequently, built a chapel about a century later, now a landmark.

“The election of candidates who are either from the MNLF, or who are close to us and understand the peace and development goals of our group is a blessing. It augurs well with our efforts to expand our peace initiatives down into the barangays,” a member of the MNLF's central committee, Hatimil Hassan, deputy speaker in the 80-seat Bangsamoro regional parliament, said.

Hassan said that a number of candidates in Basilan who are actively supporting the peace efforts of the MNLF and the national government got elected in Monday’s barangay ang Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

MNLF officials in Sulu who are also members of the regional parliament told reporters on Tuesday that more than a