Four decade-old land conflict in Makilala, Cotabato resolved through Kanduli

from Government of the Philippines
Published on 11 Feb 2013 View Original

By Aida C. Agad

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb 11 (PIA) -- The historic ritual dubbed “Kanduli sa Kalinaw sa Kalambuan” has resolved a four-decade old Muslim-Christian land conflict in Makilala town of Cotabato province.

The disputing groups also signed an agreement in the presence of Secretary Virgilio R. Delos Reyes of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño – Mendoza and Vice Governor Gregorio T. Ipong and Mayor Rudy Caoagdan.

The signing of the agreement came along with the ritual done on January 31 at Sitio Lacobe.

Mayor Caoagdan said, the “Kanduli” for Peace and Development as a ritual, expresses the people’s aspiration to live in peace and harmony through the land as the source of life and wellness,.

Residents involved in the long-standing land dispute converged at Sitio Lacobe. They were from barangays Malabuan, Villaflores and Bato, all of Makilala.

Accounts from the town’s records disclose that in the early part of 1950’s Muslim settlers acquired parcels of land for agricultural purposes at Sitio Lacobe. The area was then part of the Rice and Corn Area Proclamation No. 189.

Conflict started in the early part of 1970’s to the late 1980’s when Sitio Lacobe became a fighting ground between warring Christian cultist group “Ilaga” and Muslim armed groups then known as “Blackshirts.” As the war continues farmer-residents scamper for their safety leaving their farms.

In 1990, with the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) residents see a trace of hope for peace and development in their communities. But this was shortlived with the emergence of another rebel group, the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area.

Amidst years of chaos and uncertainties the struggling factions of Moro and Christian land beneficiaries still work for an agreement for a peaceful co-existence. (ACAgad PIA12)