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White House visit echoes Taft’s steps — Mangudadatu

COTABATO CITY—Touring the White House on an international awarding event is an opportunity to return courtesies in the historic peace visit to Maguindanao by a would-be US President—William Howard Taft—in 1901, Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said on Sunday.

On May 25, Mangudadatu travelled to the U.S. while fasting on Ramadan to receive Community Service Award and Community Leadership Award from the United Federation of Fil-Am Educators, Inc. in Maryland, said Provincial Governor’s Office chief-of-staff Nur Eeman Aljani.

As major part of the accolade, UNIFFFIED treated the awardees—from different parts of the world—to a tour of the White House Presidential Galleries at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu

“The organization received numerous nominations of individuals who have exhibited above and beyond performances and have made significant contribution in their workplace and in the community,” said Ronnie Mataquel, UNIFFIED national president.

In a letter, Mataquel said this year’s Theme is “Achieving Excellence in Global Education and Leadership Amidst Diversity.” 

A believer of community empowerment through education, Mangudadatu is credited much for a college scholarship program he has initiated in the provincial leadership, and which is now widely known as the Maguindanao Program for Education Assistance and Community Empowerment.

Mataquel said they held the UNIFFFIED’s 5th International Summit and Awards Night at the Best Western Capital Beltway at Princess Garden Pkwy, Lanham in Maryland on May 26-27, 2018.

The governor said amid hectic schedules, it was also a chance to visit his daughter who had just finished a degree in International Economics at a prestigious US school. 

Mangudadatu told the Manila Standard over Facebook exchanges that since Taft was in Maguindanao as Philippine Commission President in March 1901, he made sure that one of his photos inside the White House was taken ahead of Taft’s presidential portrait on the background. Indeed, if there was one thing common to Taft and Mangudadatu, it is the zeal of giving education a hard push for the youth.

Originally, Taft’s itineraries of travels in his 1901 and 1905 visits to the Moroland generally listed only Zamboanga and Cotabato as his places of destination. But according to some chronicles of those visits, Taft’s travels in “large retinues” to the south were “subjected to many distractions.”

The American Civil Government initially under Taft had merged Mindanao and Sulu into one Moro Province (and later under Department of Mindanao and Sulu). The mainland regions (except for Caraga) were composed of Zamboanga, Cotabato and Davao, and the islands were map-labeled as Sulu Archipelago. Downriver hill Cotabato expanded south and westward, covering the erstwhile Sultanate territories of Maguindanao (Downstream), Kabuntalan (Midstream) and Buayan (Upstream) with reference to the historic Mindanao River. 

Following the path of peace brokering initiated by Lt. Col. Webb Hayes (son of US President Rutherford Hayes) in 1899, Taft went inwards of Moroland territories in his March 1901 for the Philippine Commission’s mandate of “determining” the expanse of the “U.S. territorial possession.” 

Separately, Taft met Datu Piang in Dulawan and Datu Utto and Sultan Matagmama Sa Barongis, among local rulers, at a Spanish Camp in Baakat—which was overran by Datu Utto and his warriors in 1899.

Taft’s 1901 entourage included Judge Henry Ide, a member of the Philippine Commission, and a New York Times reporter. Separately sought by Datu Utto and Datu Piang, the Taft Commission granted Moro repossession of vast tracts of land previously designated by the Spaniards, either as military camps, or agricultural colonies, and labor and trade settlements in Pinggiaman, Dulawan (now Datu Piang), and Andavit (now Datu Salibo), and in Baakat (now part of Rajah Buayan)—all in Maguindanao.

In the same visit, the NY Times reporter also interviewed Datu Piang (speaking in the local dialect through a translator) in Dulawan.

After becoming Philippine governor-general, Taft was called back home for another tour-of-duty, and he later became US President, succeeding Theodore Roosevelt in 1909.

Topics: White House , William Howard Taft , Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu
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