By Noralyn A. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Malabang, a historic coastal town in Lanao del Sur purportedly eyed as an alternative trade zone by Bangsamoro autonomous government authorities, is beset by surge of ‘indiscriminate’ garbage dumping in many sections of the municipality, according to complaining residents.
Residents believed the eerie garbage disposal odd stemmed from intense political intramurals in Malabang involving the Balindong and Macapodi clans.
Some of them, including even commuters, expressed their lamentation through the social media, posting photos and videos of wastes piling up in various corners of the town a few days after the synchronized elections last May 9.
Coordinated garbage collection used to be handled by at least 30 workers hired by outgoing Mayor Tomas Macapodi since his election in 2019, according to a narrative in social media by one of concerned residents.
Mayor Macapodi ran for vice mayor, giving way to his brother, Al-Rashid, in the recent mayoral race. But the brothers lost in their bids. Dagar Balindong, a former mayor of nearby Picong town, won the mayoral race. The vice mayoral post was won by Rusty Balindong.
Field reports said the intensity of the Balindong-Macapodi political rivalry peaked when their armed supporters traded bullets for several hours shortly before the May 9 polls.
Some members of the rival clans were killed in separate shooting incidents before the start of the election campaign period, it was learned.
Cooler heads have urged government and traditional authorities to pacify the clannish rivalry, and pursue efforts to make Malabang an alternative trading zone in Lanao del Sur, a component of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Malabang occupies a prominent spot in the history of Lanao del Sur and the autonomous region. It is a burial place of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, and a transient route of the legendary Shariff Kabunsuan in the spread of Islam towards northern Mindanao.
Meanwhile, Cherry Mae Mancillas, a resident of barangay Matling, Malabang’s site of a decades-old cassava milling company, has asked the BARMM governance, particularly the Ministry Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (MENRE) to investigate the surge of “indiscriminate” garbage disposal in the municipality.
“Please investigate LGU Malabang and its BLGUs for the indiscriminate dumping of garbage around Malabang town. This has been happening since (the) Election Day, May 9, 2022,” Mancilla said in a letter to MENRE Minister Akmad Brahim.
A copy of the letter was emailed to the Philippine Muslim Today news, coupled with 10 photos and a video posted also via https://www.facebook.com/100007705774144/videos/781319153042257. (NAM)