Local officials and members of conservative Muslim political party Ummah have announced their support for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential bid.
The political party’s Philippine Chair, former Ambassador Aleem Ameroddin Sarangani expressed his support on Friday afternoon in Marawi City, in the presence of hundreds of the political party’s members.
Sarangani explained that the Ummah party supports Duterte because of his strong and popular advocacy, particularly Duterte’s vision of a federal government in the Philippines to address the Moro’s bid for self-determination through genuine autonomy.
Former regional assemblyman Abdul Malik Laguindab of the Autonomous Region in Muslin Mindanao (ARMM) was with Sarangani when he announced his party’s support for Duterte. He clarified that Islam does not take up the doctrine of the separation of Church and State, unlike the Catholic Church.
Shiek Aleem Jamil “Mutawa” Yahya, one of the founders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and imam of the Islamic Center of Marawi City, released a video statement on social media endorsing Duterte for president and Agakhan Sharif for vice governer of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
With around 50,000 estimated regular members, the conservative Markhazooshabab Philippine Muslim Foundation hosts Mindanao’s counterpart of the Ummah party.
Duterte’s appeal as the only presidential candidate from Mindanao and his platform on federalism has won the support of the majority of Muslims in the country. He has called himself “the Moro people’s president” in the past. Prior to his bid for presidency, around 500 Muslims in his hometown actively rallied for his participation in the 2016 elections.
Among the five presidential candidates, only Duterte and Binay have garnered express support from Muslim political parties and communities. Binay has garnered the endorsement of the powerful Ampatuan family, as well as the support of Muslim religious leaders from the ZamBaSulTa (Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi provinces) region.