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IPMR selection; lessons learned; “Nishfu sha’ban”- Sacred Day in Islam; the city is dirty, indeed”


“Truth has come, and falsehood has vanished indeed the false always vanishes.”

-Holy Qur’An, 17:81

“My consolation is that Allah will not question us about whether we succeed or not but only as how hard we tried”

-Farid Esack, On Being A Muslim: Finding a Religious Path Today (1999)

“The important thing was not the solution to a problem but the path that people travelled in search for it”

-Karen Armstrong, The Case for God (2009)

The search for the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMR) to the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) of Zamboanga City was no easy task for me (as the first IP Convener) orchestrating five (5) tribes of Zamboanga City, namely: Badjao, Subanen, Sama Bangingi, Kolibugan and Yakan as the recognized tribes by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

Meeting for the first time last February 12, 2014, the representatives of the five tribes elected this writer as the first Convener, the meetings from February 12, 2014-March 2014 a series of meetings followed in April until May 24, 2014 when the IP Leaders finally put their stamp of approval for the ratification of the guidelines to select the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IMPR) at Ateneo de Zamboanga University with Fr. Karel San Juan, S.J. hosting the venue and Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF, President of Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA) the snacks of the seventy leaders coming from the five tribes.

There was no moment in my presiding those meetings a heated discussions did not arise, it was mostly tumultous! I have to pray hard, asking for Divine intervention, otherwise I would not have succeed in steering the IP leaders to a final conclusion the June 5, 2014 selection day of the IPMR.

I succeeded, keeping myself not carried away with those heat pervading in the meeting, I would not have come out in one piece

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Lessons Learned

There were lessons, especially I was one of those nominated after I relinquished my position as convener last May 28, 2014 in the Sama Bangingi which should serve as lessons for the future generation to eliminate the five virus I mentioned in my Opening Remarks last May 24 at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University,  if they want to succeed in the selection of IPMR.

The following are my own Reflection.

Humans as we are, we are full of weaknesses succumbing to all temptations, that was why in my Opening Remarks last May 24, 2014, I said. The Noble Leader must not be infected with the “virus” of conceit, greed, arrogance, and the worse of all is the virus of forgetfulness.

I was not selected because I did not have resources; human, material and financial, my adversaries, they all had.

Trickery was notably visible to some, especially, the personalities who came at the latter part of our undertaking

I noted some of the voting delegates were lured by material things rather than the sincerity, commitment and the intelligence of the candidates.

Finally, God spared me from an impending calamity that may befall to the selected IPMR because preceding that Selection Day, a fire  occurred in Campo Islam, an indigenous  community, with my age and health, I may not be able to handle such calamity, a future occurrence which the IPMR must handle with care. I Thank Allah for this.

I remember Mayor Beng Climaco’s Oath Taking, a year ago; before that there were shootings and bomb, and on the day of her Inaguration a policeman was shot. An omen, that something sinister will come, and it came 9 September 2013, the MNLF, attacked the city with ruthless violence the rest is history, the problems are still with us.

Profusely, I thank  Allah for not  granting my prayers to be an IPMR and sit as a councilor.

I can still serve my people in another way, with God’s blessings


The day before the selection, there were already reports that, some elements who felt they were “excluded” would disrupt the proceedings on June 5- Selection Day

Some disgruntled personalities mentioned the presence of Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF, President of ZABIDA.

In fairness to Fr. Calvo, he was the only person who accepted our request to help us in all our meetings, the city officials who should be of help did not care, except, Vice Mayor Iturralde who gave me some amount for my transportation in attending to these meetings, since a retiree like me does not have the resources at his disposal. 

We asked the Mayor to direct the Barangay chiefs to help us in the population threshold we were turned down, instead we were directed to ask NSO which we did, at our expense. The leaders have to go to the different barangays for the headcount of the population .

NCIP, we were told has no budget for such activities. I was shocked! The NCIP role was to facilitate…facilitate?

Anyway, DILG and NCIP did their best to help us even in the most difficult situation. Considering the difficulty, I almost gave up. My conscience did not allow me, or else I could be branded for cowardice, a sin in Islam.

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The Muslim community in the city, and other parts of the Islamic world will observe a Sacred Day in the Hijrah calendar as Nishfu Sha’ban (the 5th of Sha’ban), historically, this was the day when the Qiblah (direction of prayer) was transferred from Jerusalem to Mecca “Upon God’s Command.

But this is not the only thing significant regarding” Nishfu Sha’ban in the Philippines Muslims, they observe this on the eve of Nishfu with the readings of the Holy Qur-an in all Mosques dedicated to all the departed and on “Nishfu” day, visitation to cemeteries for a week or two until the “Sighting of the New Moon” to determine the first day of the month of Ramadhan.

In the Hijra Calendar 1435A.H, the 15th of Sha’ban falls on June 13,2014 CE, but this is not a declared holiday.

Nishfu Sha’ban means the 15th of the month of Sha’ban

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The City is dirty, indeed. Why don’t the City Council enact an Ordinance requiring business establishments, offices, Barangay Officials to have the front of their areas of concern be cleaned by an assigned cleaner.   #

By: Prof. Ali T. Yacub

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