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Love becomes casualty of Mindanao conflict

Hoping and waiting: Jasmaida Lauban (right) and Gloria G. Talib are looking forward to a peaceful future in southern Philippines.

Publication Date : 19-10-2012


Six months ago, Ariel Guiadsali bade goodbye to his girlfriend and promised he would return from Malaysian state of Sabah after earning enough money to marry her.

“My boyfriend had to travel to Sabah as there is no work available here,” said Jasmaida Lauban, a 20-year-old Maguindanaon, adding she missed him dearly.

The 23-year-old Ariel, according to Jasmaida’s 42-year-old aunt, Gloria G. Talib, has a criminology degree but because of the long drawn-out conflict in Mindanao, he could not find a job in the city.

“It is always bang, bang, bang here. There is no peace of mind,” said Gloria, making a gesture as if she was shooting with an imagined M16.

Jasmaida said her boyfriend was unhappy in Sabah.

Her mother, Saida Lauban, interjected and said: “He misses his soon-to-be wife.”

“But he has to earn money as he wants to marry my daughter. She is of royal blood and her dowry is big.”

Jasmaida is the granddaughter of a sultan in Tumbao Cotabato (now known as Kabuntalan, Maguindanao).

Her dowry is 300,000 pesos (US$7,242) which includes a wedding reception, bridal costume and matrimonial bed.

For a common Maguindanaoan, the dowry is usually 30,000 pesos.

Ariel, who has relatives in Sabah, earns 7,000 pesos a month working in a company in Sabah.

“He can only come back if he earns enough money to marry my daughter. It will take him five years to earn her dowry,” said Saida.

“I will wait for him,” said Jasmaida. “I cannot go to Sabah as my father does not want me to work overseas.”

Jasmaida hoped that the framework for Bangsamoro peace, which was signed on Monday between the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, would end the war in southern Philippines.

“If there are no more problems in Mindanao, they (her boyfriend and relatives) will return home,” she said.

*US$1=41.42 pesos


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