Humbled’ Mangudadatu accepts invitation to join PDP-Laban Senate slate

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Maguindanao second-district Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu said Sunday he had accepted the decision of the ruling PDP-Laban party that he join its senatorial slate for the 2019 elections.

The vice chairman of the House committees on Muslim affairs and on Mindanao affairs thanked President Rodrigo Duterte, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Koko Pimentel for entrusting to him the role of “spearheading the cause for Muslim concerns and Mindanao peace” as one of PDP-Laban’s senatorial bets.

“I am humbled by the vote of confidence given to me by PDP-Laban, Speaker Alvarez, and President Duterte. I will work hard so that there will be proper representation for Filipino Muslims in the Senate,” he said in a statement.

The Davao-educated lawmaker added: “My main thrust and motivation will be towards long lasting peace and progress not just in Mindanao but the entire Philippines. I pray and hope that the entire Filipino people will give me the trust and break the barrier of religious beliefs that has hindered long-lasting peace and sustainable progress in major parts of our country.”

Mangudadatu is a member of the group the lawmakers tasked to consolidate the four Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) proposals authored by former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; Deputy Speaker and Maguindanao Rep. Bai Sandra Sema; Lanao del Norte Rep. Khalid Dimaporo and House leaders headed by Alvarez.

Duterte earlier said the inclusion of Mangudadatu in the PDP-Laban slate was “a must,” and described him as a “steadfast Mindanao pacifist.”