A Muslim woman vendor sells cell phone accessories in Baclaran.
By PERCY A OSTONAL
A DISTINCT group of migrants has found Mambulao “a place to live in”.
They are the Muslim trading families from Zamboanga province who found the community friendly and thriving, thus benefiting their small trading activities.
Most of them have settled at Plaridel, which is just a stone’s throw away from the public market.
MWBuzz has found that there are about 10 families with a total of 50 members now in town, with the elders in the families engaged in small buying-and-selling.
Notably, they are selling an array of goods from original to non-original DVDs, CDs, to flashlights, cigaret lighters, wrist watches, cell phones, small appliances, rings, earrings, umbrellas, sun glasses, silk scarps, blouses, "Batik" shirts, perfumes, children toys, socks and stockings, herbal medicines, belts, children clothing, fishing gears and accessories and many more.
The traders’ supplies are sourced from their contacts in Zamboanga.
They have set up their stores at the town’s public market and is drawing good patronage.
In an interview, one family member told MWBuzz: "Kahit mabuti kang tao at ikaw ay Muslim at naninirahan sa Mindanao, ang isip ng marami ay Abu Sayyaf o terorista ka" (even you're peace- loving person and happened to be of Muslim faith and live in Mindanao, people's perception is either you are an Abu Sayyaf or a terrorist).
He said they found peace in the community.
"We found peace and nobody so far bothers us here, and everyone in my family is so happy venturing our future in a town almost like the same we have in Zamboanga … we don't really miss anything much being that close to the sea … like JP bay,” another newly arrived family member agreed.
A source from the local government unit (LGU) told MWBuzz that the office of the mayor
“has great appreciation” for these growing migrants for their annual business tax payments of approximately P2,000 per and their contribution to the business climate of Mambulao.
One observer said that the presence of the Muslim families would help circulate money in the local economy.
“They will buy what they need locally, thus infusing additional currency into the local economy,” he said.
It was also gathered that a temporary mosque at Baranggay Plaridel is now in place.
Mayor Ricarte Padilla, being brother to movie star Robin Padilla (converted to Muslim faith), has that special relation to the "Imam" (highest religious authority) of the group.
Sources said that the families have been encouraged to come to Mambulao because of movie star Padilla, whom they made as their “padrino” (sponsor) in settling in the community.
A Muslim vendor sells electronic goods in a Metro Manila sidewalk.