Wahab Akbar

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Wahab M. Akbar
Governor of Basilan (1998-2007)
Representative of the Lone District of Basilan (2007)
In office
June 30, 2007 - November 12, 2007
Born April 19, 1960
Lantawan, Basilan
Died November 12, 2007
Quezon City
Spouse Jum Jainuddin-Akbar, Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar, Marietta Samoranos Akbar, Nur-ain Akbar
Parents Hajji Mutamad Salajin

Wahab M. Akbar (April 19, 1960 - November 13, 2007) was governor of the province of Basilan from 1998 to 2007. He was killed in a bomb explosion at the Batasang Pambansa on November 12, 2007, four months into his first term as Representative of Basilan to the Philippine Congress (2007)


Early Life and Career

Wahab Akbar, a Yakan, was born on April 16, 1960 in Lantawan, Basilan. His father was Hajji Mutamad Salajin; Akbar is his maternal grandfather's name.<ref name="test1">Provincial Government of Basilan official website. Profile of Governor Wahab Akbar (accessed November 15, 2007).</ref>

At age 11, Akbar joined his father, a rebel, in the mountains. After three years, Salajin was persuaded to surrender to the government and was appointed mayor of Lantawan by President Ferdinand Marcos. Akbar resumed his studies in Isabela, Basilan. Later, he enrolled at Gregorio Araneta University in Manila where he took up agriculture. However, he did not finish his studies. In 1979, he was arrested along with other Muslim students and detained in Bicutan, Taguig. After his release, he left the country for Sabah, Malaysia, where he stayed until 1982, when he went to Syria and studied Islamic jurisprudence. In 1987, he left Syria when he was sent to Libya by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to train as a commando. He met Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani, the founder of the Abu Sayyaf, in Libya, but denied any involvement with Janjalani or his group. Akbar left Libya and returned to Sabah in the early 1990s, and later returned to Basilan in the mid-1990s.<ref name="test2">Wahab Akbar: The Terror of Basilan. Article by Jose Torres in Newsbreak Magazine, November 13, 2007 (accessed November 15, 2007).</ref>

Upon his return to Basilan, Akbar became a preacher of Islam. He ran for governor of the province in 1998 and won.<ref name="test2">Wahab Akbar: The Terror of Basilan. Article by Jose Torres in Newsbreak Magazine, November 13, 2007 (accessed November 15, 2007).</ref>

Political Career

As governor of Basilan, Akbar had the following goals:

  • To set up provincial development centers and peoples’ industrial enterprises;
  • To establish passenger cruiseship terminals and develop fishing port complex in Isabela and Maluso;
  • To improve major road network specifically the Basilan circumferential road as well as the upgrading and improvement of the Basilan port system to include the RORO facilities;
  • Lastly, to develop full potential of the agriculture sector including rubber sapping and logging being the main source of livelihood.

According to Secretary Angelo Reyes of the Department of National Defense (DND) during the 29th Anniversary Celebration of Basilan "Governor Akbar has always the talks of Visayas, Luzon and Malacanang people for his decisiveness, dedication and tough decision." Also according to Deputy Speaker for Mindanao, congressman Gerry A. Salapuddin, "Ustadz Wahab Akbar the fighting governor of the modern times of pro-poor and more than ever will lead Basilan to achieve its grandeur unto Glory…."

Akbar built the Basilan provincial capitol to house government offices and lobbied for funds to finish the province's 230-kilometer provincial road. In June 2001, however, when the Abu Sayyaf attacked Lamitan, Akbar was accused of facilitating the payment of ransom for the release of Abu Sayyaf hostages in Lamitan.<ref name="test2">Wahab Akbar: The Terror of Basilan. Article by Jose Torres in Newsbreak Magazine, November 13, 2007 (accessed November 15, 2007).</ref>

In 2007, Akbar was elected Representative of Basilan to the Philippine Congress. In his first and only privilege speech "I Am Basilan"<ref name="test3">ABS-CBN Interactive website. Privilege Speech of Basilan's Cong. Wahab M. Akbar in the House of Representatives on July 31, 2007 (accessed November 15, 2007).</ref> in the House of Representatives on July 31, 2007, Akbar described himself:

In his speech, Akbar condemned the military's renewed offensives in the island province, criticized the government's militaristic approach to achieving peace in Basilan, and advocated peace. He said:

On November 12, 2007, at about 8:00 in the evening, a bomb exploded at the entrance of the House of Representatives in Quezon City, killing three people and injuring at least 7 others. Wahab Akbar was one of those who were killed. He was 47 years old.<ref name="test4">GMANews.tv website. News article on Batasang Pambansa bombing (accessed November 15, 2007).</ref> In accordance with Muslim rites, Akbar was buried the day after his death in Sumagdang, Isabela City, Basilan. He was survived by his wives, Basilan Governor Jum Jainuddin-Akbar, Isabela City Mayor Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar, Marietta Samoranos Akbar, and Nur-ain Akbar, and his seven children. <ref name="test5">Philippine Daily Inquirer website. News article on Wahab Akbar's funeral (accessed November 15, 2007).</ref>


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