Influential Islamic political party endorses Sakur Tan for ARMM Governor

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - First Page -

MARAWI CITY – One of the biggest and influential political parties in southern Philippines - Ompia - has adopted and endorsed Sulu Vice Governor Dr. Sakur Tan as its official candidate for governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the May 9 general elections. Ompia was founded by former ARMM Governor Dr. Mahid Mutilan and is now headed by its president, Aleem Abdullah Abubakar.

Abubakar and other Ompia officials proclaimed and endorsed Tan - a member of the ruling Liberal party of President Benigno Aquino - during a recent assembly held at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.

The video of the proclamation went viral in social media, including in ARMM Watch – a Facebook forum by Muslims in the autonomous region – which drew praises and accolades for Ompia.

Ompia has tens of thousands of members and supporters in the Muslim autonomous region.

Tan, a philanthropist and a respected Muslim leader, thanked Ompia for throwing its full support behind his candidacy. Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong is also supporting Tan’s candidacy.

The other ARMM governors – Nurbert Sahali, of Tawi-Tawi; Jum Akbar, of Basilan; and Esmael Mangudadatu, of Maguindanao; have pledged their all-out support to Tan’s candidacy.

Sahali and his mayors also promised victory for Tan – along time political ally – after his recent visit in TawiTawi. In Basilan, Akbar, whose clan has close ties with Tan, said they are with him all the way, and so were the other municipal mayors in the province.

Various civil society groups and religious leaders are also supporting Tan, who is running against incumbent Governor Mujiv Hataman, also a Liberal party member. Ompia, in 2013 elections, endorsed Hataman, but withdrew its total support for a still unknown reason and rally behind Tan.

At least 5 influential sultans in Sulu - Ibrahim Bahjin, Muizuddin Jainal Bahjin, Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram, Mohammad Venizar Julkarnain Jainal Abirin and Phugdalun Kiram - also threw their support to Tan.

Tan was a key figure in the unification of the sultans, who all signed a covenant of unity in Zamboanga City on April 9. Tan commissioned many respected Muslim scholars, historians and educators from the University of the Philippines led by Dean Julkipli Wadi to help in crafting the unity covenant.

Mehol Sadain, who previously heads the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, was also among those who helped Tan in this historic endeavor. The sultans also thanked Tan for his efforts in unifying the Royal Houses of the Sultanate of Sulu. Tan is strongly advocating the revival of Sultanate of Sulu and promoting the rich and colorful tradition of the Tausug people.

Aleem Abdullah Abubakar, of the Islamic political party Ompia proclaims Sulu Vice Governor Dr. Sakur Tan as their official candidate for ARMM governor.

Sulu Vice Governor Sakur Tan who is running for ARMM governor speaks to leaders of the Ompia political party in Lanao del Sur province. And below, Tan, is mobbed by supporters in Tawi-Tawi province where Governor Nurbert Sahali and their mayors rally behind Tan’s candidacy.

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