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MALADEG: Zone of Peace This project explores a zone of peace, the village of Maladeg, in Lanao del Sur, Philippines. Outside the borders of Maladeg, Muslim rebels continue to fight for a Moro republic in spite of armed opposition from a government bent on retaining sovereignty over the southern islands. Violence and government corruption have made the region virtually inaccessible and underdeveloped even though it is rich in natural resources. Furthermore, conflict tradition among the native Maranao-Muslims, called rido, or clan wars, has also plagued the region, perpetuating the cause for rebellion and secession. TMR Photo Essay Contest Winner MARVI LACAR Residents stroll down the beach at Maladeg. Most of the land in the coastal village was owned by the Anton clan, a Bisaya-Christian family who decided to open their property to Bisaya-Christians and Maranao-Muslims seeking refuge from guerilla warfare or clan wars. Maranao-Muslims congregate at five o'clock in the afternoon to pray inside the mosque. In Maladeg, Maranao-Muslims and Bisaya-Christians, historically warring ethno-religious groups, peacefully practice their faiths in close proximity to one another. A farmer unloads newly harvested coconuts to be dried and processed as copra (dried coconut meat). Copra production, is one of the more common sources of income for many residents. In 2001 , however, copra prices were so unstable that many residents looked for other ways to make a living. A relative of the deceased (left, covered in sheets) washes the body in preparation for burial. Because of limited finances, the family decided against medical help. Furthermore, the sick person would have had to endure a long and arduous boat ride to the closest hospita, in the city across the lllana Bay. The baby was born a few hours earlier under the care of a traditional healer. Since there is no hospital in Maladeg, mother and child had to take the first boat trip, at dawn, to the closest city. The road leading to the hospital is a favorite haunt of bandits and mercenaries and is also temporarily impassable due to a fallen bridge. Gubernatorial candidate Abu Baulo promises to bring aid to the povertystricken village by constructing roads, hospitals, and a potable water piping system, among other proposed peace and development programs. Baulo, a medical doctor by profession, lost to a more popular and seasoned politician. Chüdren dive off the newly constructed coconut-lumber Liangan Bridge. Initiated by the traditional village leaders, the bridge construction was later supported by the government, a few months before the national elections. More than ten years ago, the strong constant current of the river washed away the approach to the Liangan Bridge. Though many politicians have campaigned in the village and promised to bring peace and progress, most development projects are undertaken by residents of the village. Men of the Philippine Marines and the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) conduct prophylactic patrols around Maladeg to counter rebel activities and clan wars, Although the patrols are constant, they have not completely prevented hijacking and ambushing of residents involved in clan wars. The CAFGU are civilian volunteers who receive only a per diem allowance for their services. Since they are from the village and are familiar with the area, they are often assigned to the front line. However, they are allotted only a small number of bullets when sent out on patrol with the marines. Relatives mourn the death of a clan war victim, whose body is covered in white cloth, in accordance with Islamic burial traditions. The family awaits the arrival of relatives from other villages, before burying the victim on the same day of death. Clan wars are caused by everything from petty theft, like stealing coconuts , to murder. They can last for generations. Faridah Diamrang sits in the basement of her home, while her mother untangles rice sacks used to make pillows. She and her immediate family sought refuge in the village to escape from an ongoing rido. Faridah and her husband support their family through copra sales. Bullet holes mark many of the houses around the marketplace. Bob Anton, the village leader, allowed a Maranao-Muslim clan war to be fought in the center of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 75-88
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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