Party-list Rep Hataman quits, says Marawi siege taught her need to win ‘hearts and minds of our own children’

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MANILA – AMIN party-list Representative Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman has resigned as a member of the House of Representatives.

In a privilege speech Monday, October 2, she did not specify her reason for leaving, but said she would “go back to my people, not as their Representative, but as one of them.”

Hataman, wife of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman, will be replaced by Amihilda Sangcopan. AMIN has another nominee in Congress, Rep. Makmod Mending Jr.

She used to head the Committee on Muslim Affairs, but was replaced in May 2017 for voting against the death penalty bill.

Hataman said her decision was “not easy,” and “perhaps the craziest” following her four-year stint at the House.

“Our sad reality today is that many can no longer see beyond titles and positions. May we realize that these are not the goals, but are mere platforms and opportunities, ways on how to fulfill a greater calling in life, and for me as a Muslim, as a path to gain a better life in the hereafter in shaa Allah,” she said.

“Whatever title or position or status we have, when it no longer serves that purpose, become meaningless. There is no higher office or lower rank, what matters is where and how you can serve best. This is a reminder foremost to myself,” she added.

She said this realization became “strongly evident” when the siege of Marawi happened.

“I am not from the city, but the impact of what happened brought me to so many questions and self-reflections, thoughts of where I am and where I am most needed,” she said.

“When Marawi happened, especially when I heard how young some of the members of this group were, I can only ask myself, had I remained in the communities, as one of them, and spoke to them of peace, perhaps I could have convinced a child or two that it is possible,” Hataman said.

“We often speak of winning hearts and minds. The fight is no longer anywhere but in our very communities and homes, the hearts and minds we so desperately need to win over are not anyone else’s but the hearts and minds of our own children,” she added.

As a last appeal, she urged her colleagues to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which she co-authored.

“Please let us not miss this opportunity, probably the last, to win back our people. As I go back, may this be a gift I can offer them from you, not a gift as a token of benevolence, but a gift we so truly deserve, not just from the House of Representatives, not just from this administration, but from the Filipino people,” she said.