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Hadji Datu Ayu Amping Mandi, 2016 Peaceweaver Awardee (PART II)


“Faith in Islam is a State of Happiness acquired by virtue of positive action and constructive conceptions as well as dynamic and effective measures.”
—Hammuda Abdalati, ISLAM IN FOCUS
“Our Senior Citizens are like the Solid Foundation of experience and knowledge that support the growth, guidance, progress and safety of our families and society.”
—Editorial, Mahjubah Magazine (2000)

The late Sama Bangingi illustrious leader Hadji Datu Ayu Amping Mandi, was one of the posthumous awardees of the 2016 Peace Weaver Awards, the other posthumous awardee was the late Maximo Ramillano, both received their respective awards at the La Azotea Roof Deck of the Garden Orchid Hotel, this city last November 27, 2016 as one of the highlights of the week-long celebration of the 2016 Mindanao Week of Peace.
On this space, Bottomline is happy to include the Citation of this venerable leader of the Sama Bangingi, which is printed in full below:
There are people whose lives are remembered with much appreciation and pride for they lived their lives with honor and service for their people.  One of these is our honoree who was one of the few native Muslims of the Sama tribe who had gained prominence and distinction in his own right.  He hailed from Manalipa Island, Zamboanga City.
Bestowed with the traditional title of Datu, our honoree was regarded as a leader by the Muslims not only in the City of Zamboanga but also those Muslims from Basilan and Zamboanga del Norte. Everyday, his office would be the venue for the settling of problems of the Muslims particularly on matters pertaining to family relations, land conflict and even crimes involving members of his tribe.  Oftentimes, the Local Executive of the City of Zamboanga found it necessary and useful to consult him on matters pertaining to the problems of the local members of the National Cultural community, especially in his capacity as deputy to the Mayor of Zamboanga City during the post-war years. 
As an official of the Commission on National Integration, he helped administer the scholarship program of the government for the members of the so-called National Cultural Communities. Even beyond his retirement from government, he devoted his last years of service serving the cultural communities as a functionary of  the PANAMIN or the Presidential Arm for National Minorities, a nonstock, nonprofit organization created to protect the interests of Philippine cultural minorities.
A remarkable feature of his younger years especially during the early thirties was his prowess in swimming that gave fame and name to Zamboanga.  He was known as a “pre-war star winner” - the Zamboangueño-Muslim star swimmer of Far Eastern Olympics held in April 1934 in Manila and Dual Philippine-Japan Swimming Meet held in Tokyo.  He was best known for long distance swimming events.  His swimming career was capped with winning thirty-six (36) medals.
Reflective of his character of being humble, soft-spoken and unassuming, his death in 1994 went unnoticed, but certainly was an irreparable loss to the people and the city of Zamboanga.  In order to perpetuate his memory to be treasured as a model for our youth and people, we find it fitting to honor him tonight. 
A Muslim, a Sama, a leader of peace who served especially the cultural communities, and the people of Zamboanga, we accord the honor of being a Peace Weaver for 2016 to Hadji Ayu Amping Mandi.
Hereunder is that proud history of the people of Simariki, the Sama Bangingi of this city:
Accordingly, no Spanish, American nor Japanese authorities have set foot on the settlement being considered to be both an isolated area and an insignificant area. This led towards the underdevelopment of the area as there were neither schools nor government installations.
Accordingly, the oral records mentioned Datu Ayu and Datu Ramon Mandi as the ruling Balanguinguih leaders during the period of Panglima Pajiji.
Panglima Pajiji’s rule over the community was shortly after the great big storm/quake in Tanah Suk (Sulu) wherein animals were found to be hanging in trees. According to archival records (Labayog, 2014 [3]) several strong earthquakes were reported between 1863 to 1898 which is safe to estimate that Panglima Pajiji was heading the community between these dates.
The third period of the history of the Sama of Simariki was when Panglima Pajiji died during the Japanese occupation. He was later succeeded by Panglima Sahisa (who was the brother of Panglima Pajiji), a boatbuilder and fisherman by nature, who also died during Japanese period, succeeded by Imam Barhama (cousin) who also died during Japanese period. Paglima Haji Quraiz Dawaih was tribal chieftain until his death and was succeeded by Barahim Ismula (still living) and later by Hadji Nasser Ismula (present tribal chieftain).
The fourth period of the history of Simariki was the barter trade era (early 50’s to late 80’s) where members of the community managed to engage in the barter trade and because of this many members of the community manage to migrate to other places like Alicia, Sulu and other areas due to barter trade.
The occupants of Simariki initially tried to have the island titled by the application of Land Ownership in 1978 when the Hadji Quraiz Dawai and Hji Maanin Tapsilani (cousins) applied for a land patent. Unfortunately the application of the land was not acted upon.
(to be continued in the next issue...)  (By Prof. Ali T. Yacub)

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