Many twentysomethings are uncertain about their future. But third-generation politician Mohammad Khalid Raki-in Adiong—Mujam to friends—has always wanted to be a public servant.
At 25, Adiong is the youngest Vice Governor in the history of Lanao del Sur.
“My grandfather and father were my role models who brought changes in our province,” says Adiong.
Since childhood, he saw his grandfather, Mamintal Sr. (Mike), then a congressman in the ‘90s, upgrade the provincial hospital into a medical center.
When Mike became Lanao del Sur Governor from 2001 to 2004 until his demise, he built roads and bridges.
Meanwhile, the younger Adiong would tag along with his father, Mamintal Jr. (Bombit) -- who is on his third term as governor -- as he addressed the needs of conflict-affected areas and poor communities, arbitrated clan conflicts called “rido,” and completed the “dream road” project, which was 60 years in the making.
The national highway shortened the travel time from the towns of Wa-o and Amai Manabilang to the capital city of Marawi from eight hours to 90 minutes.
When Bombit was vice governor, Mujam joined his father’s staff and assisted him in his duties.
“I took notes as I accompanied my father. I felt that helping people was my calling. If he could do it, so can I,” he says.
Adiong developed his leadership skills starting at 16 years old, when he was president of the now-defunct provincial youth group Sangguniang Kabataan.
He discovered his forte in organizing large-scale projects, such as youth development seminars and free sports clinics. He represented his father in inspecting water utilities of madrasas (schools for Islamic studies) and special events.
As vice governor, Mujam Adiong is working the province’s development program “Mozhor su Kawyagan sa Ranao,” which means uplifting lives in Lanao.
The projects focus on the environment, youth empowerment, agriculture, healthcare, community resilience, education and peace building.
For the environment, plans are afoot to ban single-use plastics and to clean up Lake Lanao, the province’s main tourist attraction and watershed.
Addressing the increasing cases of poor vision in the Philippines, the province will buy cataract medicines and give them to low-income patients, he says.
On community resilience, the Municipal Risk Reduction Office will be holding disaster management programs.
Mujam recalls that in December 2017, Typhoon Vinta wrought havoc in the province, as towns were submerged in flood waters. The province was declared in a state of calamity. He says it was a lesson for them to be prepared for natural calamities.
In peace building, managing clan conflicts has become an important agenda in the provincial office.
Rido is rife with breaks of vengeful violence between families or communities. Some family quarrels have escalated into armed skirmishes between insurgents and the military.
The state gave limited assistance in resolving the rido in the past. Adiong says the provincial government will be more engaged in providing justice and security.
“I have seen big clans seek my father’s help in settling disputes. He negotiates so that these clans reach a compromise. A contract stipulates the conditions to maintain peace and order and the consequences if they are not followed. The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police also sign the contract,” he says.
Adiong’s ultimate vision is to improve the province’s quality of life.
“Lanao del Sur is one of the country’s poorest provinces. We want to improve our status,” he said.
He has been involved in public consultations such as meeting farmers and other people about the state of their livelihood.
“We will find solutions and seek out partner organizations,” says the political scion. “I ran for public office because I felt that a new generation can contribute to a better future.”