COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/22 Dec) – “The position of OIC Regional Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is not a license to lord over but to serve the people,” the President’s appointed OIC ARMM Governor, Mujiv Hataman, said in his acceptance speech Thursday morning.
“We will create a new culture in the ARMM, a culture of good governance based on transparency and accountability. A culture of governance whose foundation is anchored on democracy, participation and people empowerment, and pragmatic but principled leadership,” the 39-year-old former three-term party-list representative of Anak Mindanaw said in his 16-minute speech delivered in Pilipino.
Hataman assumed the post of OIC Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) at the Regional Governor’s Conference Hall in turnover rites that was boycotted by his predecessor, Acting Regional Governor Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong.
Elected vice governor in 2004 and 2007, Adiong was thrust into the governorship in December 2009 following the arrest and detention of ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan as one of the suspects in the massacre of 58 persons.
Adiong was supposed to have delivered a message before the “official turn-over of the ARMM Regional Government by the Acting Regional Governor to the Incoming OIC-Regional Governor” but his part in the ceremonies was scrapped because he was a no-show.
Instead, ARMM Local Governments Secretary Haroun Alrashid Lucman, Jr. turned over the ARMM flag and seal to Hataman.
No explanation was offered as to why Adiong was absent. But his absence was made even more conspicuous: between Hataman and OIC Vice Governor Hadja Bainon Karon was Adiong’s empty seat and name card.
Hataman said nothing about his predecessor’s absence but explained the absence of two of the five ARMM governors before reading his four-page speech.
Hataman said Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong, brother of the former Acting ARMM governor Adiong, could not make it because of an
appointment with investors wanting to put up a rubber plantation in Lanao del Sur. But he said he spoke with Adiong in Manila on Wednesday on the logging issue in Lanao del Sur.
Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu was also absent, he said, because of an appointment in Hong Kong with investors who want to set up banana plantations in two towns in the province.
Present at the turnover were Governors Sakur Tan of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi Governor Sadikul Sahali and Basilan Governor Jum Akbar, whose presence
made Hataman say he was “higit na natuwa” (even more glad) because it serves as “isang inspirasyon” (an inspiration).
Akbar did not seem comfortable during the ceremonies. Sources told MindaNews she was “pressured to come here.” Akbar’s husband Wahab was a three-term governor and was serving as congressman when killed in a bombing just outside the Batasang Pambansa building in November 2007. Hataman, who was among those implicated for the murder but was recently cleared by the courts, ran for Basilan governor in 2010 but was defeated by Governor Akbar.
Hataman’s assumption of the ARMM’s highest post was attended by Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles and Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronaldo Llamas.
After the turnover rites, Hataman immediately went down and walked to the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Center a few hundred meters behind the Office of the Regional Governor’s building, for a “People’s Address,” the crowd comprising mostly members of the Reform the ARMM Now (RAN)
and Akbayan party-list.
Onstage, Hataman opted against using the podium and just took the like and the centerstage like he were in a political rally.
“Kayo ang dapat magtakda kung ano ang ating gagawin para sa ating rehiyon,” (You will decide what we will do for our region), Hataman
said in a well-applauded 10-minute speech.
“Ito ang reporma na pinangako natin at itaga ninyo sa bato. Hindi po tayo papadala sa pamumulitika, hindi po tayo papadala sa pressure. Ang
mahalaga kung ano ang dapat sa mamamayan, ay yun ang dapat nating gawin” (This is the reform we promise you and cast it in stone, we
will not be swayed by politics, we will not be swayed by pressure. What is important is what is due the people, that’s what we will do),
Paraphrasing his friend, President Aquino’s line in his inaugural speech, “Kayo ang boss ko,” (You are my boss), Hataman said, “kayo ang
maghari-harian sa loob ng ARMM” which Hataman later told MindaNews he translates as “You will lord over here in the ARMM.”
Hataman said he will announce next week his appointments. He said he is still negotiating with some incumbents who will be retained based
on “performance and willingness to serve.”
At present, the Hataman-Karon administration is being assisted by a transition team composed mostly of lawyers. (Carolyn O. Arguillas /