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THINK TALK: Who Says Pikit is a Troubled Town?

mindaviews thinktalk

MATALAM, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 28 Sep) – Pikit is one of 17 towns and one city that comprise the province of North Cotabato. To some, Pikit is equated to a troubled town which may be attributed to the fact that “rido” (clan dispute that usually results in armed confrontation) has been happening here since time immemorial. When there is no shooting encounter, some members of the conflicting clans or families hunt each other and kill any member of the adverse family whenever chanced upon.

But “rido” or vendetta killing is not a monopoly of this town. “Rido” happens occasionally in some places in the Lanao areas, Maguindanao and Sulu. The streets of Manhattan and Chicago in the U.S. are even more dangerous than Pikit.

MindaNews has already conducted a fact-check in the past to verify a post in the social media claiming that the town of Pikit is so troubled that it has already become a ghost town. MindaNews found out that this was absolutely false.

It is true that whenever armed encounters happen between the feuding families, people move to safer areas to avoid the stray bullets. This vacated area is referred to by some irresponsible people as ghost area which becomes “ghost town” when picked up by some netizens who do not bother to go to the area to verify the true situation. Commuters who pass by the town everyday could easily negate this.

And what would negate clear and bare all these false claims and fake news than the local beauty pageant dubbed “Muntya na Pikit” which was held at the Araneta Coliseum-style Pikit Municipal Gymnasium on the evening of September 27, 2022! “Muntya” is a Maguindanaon term which literally means “precious gem.” This is an annual activity which was set aside in the past two years (2020-2021) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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MindaNews photo by MAUGAN P. MOSAID

The 5,000-capacity gymnasium was jampacked by the crowd who cheered and shouted at the top of their voices as beauty queens and celebrities from Manila made dramatic entrances one by one. The seven-member Board of Judges was chaired by Miss Gazini Ganados, Miss Universe Philippines 2019, with some celebrities and models as members.

As the curtain unfolds for the opening number the “Extreme Dancers,” a finalist in Pinoy Got Talent, showcased their amazing moves and acrobatic executions of sports dances to the great delight of the audience.

No less than the beauty queens and celebrities went to Pikit, unperturbed by the negative news about the town, to grace the event which was one of the highlights of the 73rd founding anniversary celebrations of this municipality.

The town was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 270 signed by President Elpidio Quirino on September 29, 1949. At the helm of the municipal government are the incumbent elected officials, Mayor Sumulong K. Sultan and Vice Mayor Muhyryn D. Sultan-Casi.

The next episodes centered on the 12 candidates for the “Muntya na Pikit” who competed with each other in their “Muslim Princess Attire,” “Evening Gowns,” “Grace on the Ramp” and answering the judges’ questions. Candidate number 6, Miss Janice Jickain, outshone her fellow candidates during the question and answer portion. Eventually, she was also declared “Muntya na Pikit 2022” by the Board of Judges. The other winners were: 1st Runner-up Sittie Laila Alang, 2nd Runner-up Angel Kate Singco, 3rd Runner-up Joy Mae Calotes, and 4th Runner-up Anjelica Edzel.

After the event, all visitors and guests were one in saying that Pikit is peaceful and beautiful. They were so grateful for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded by the Pikitenos led by the incumbent municipal officials. What added glamour to the event was the hi-tech lighting and rotating background visuals which, I must admit, could equal the national beauty pageants’ glitters and fame.

Indeed, one rido-related killing does not define the peace and order in this town for there are more killings in Chicago and New York. And one small no man’s place, which is not even two percent of the total land area of Pikit (605 sq. kms.), does not define the town.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Maugan P. Mosaid holds a doctorate degree in Rural Development. He is a planning consultant and teaches Statistics and Methods of Research in the graduate school.)

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