ARMM vows to support resumption of GRP-MILF talks

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/07 December) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is supporting moves for the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Acting Regional Governor Ansaruddin Adiong declared in his first state of the region address yesterday.

ARMM, with its more than four million largely Muslim population is a primary stakeholder in the peace process, Adiong said.

He said his administration is on the “final stage of drafting our regional peace agenda in support to the Mindanao Peace and Development Agenda of…President Benigno C. Aquino III.”

“Peace and order in ARMM has taken the proportion of a social problem,” he said, adding, “pure military solutions would never be enough…”

Adiong, however, said the national government should devolve key government agencies, appropriate sufficient budget and give the regional government a more prominent role in the handling of government projects.

The governor said he has received reports that the creation of several towns in Maguindanao and other provinces in the ARMM has posed some fiscal problems because the national government would not provide them internal revenue allotments.

Adiong further declared they “have done more that what was expected” despite taking over the “autonomous regional leadership at its most challenging period.”

He cited feats in addressing some of ARMM’s lingering problems on peace and stability, economy, health, education and poverty.

Asked about the indicators they used in measuring the reported improvements in social conditions, ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo cited infrastructure projects like hospitals which he said have made substantial difference in the lives of people.

Sinarimbo said that hospitals, for instance, have lessened the number of maternal deaths or infant mortality.

Attending to the plight of internally displaced residents and giving them livelihood has also significantly improved their living conditions, he added.

In their recent assessment of the current ARMM leadership’s performance the World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as well as the National Economic Development Authority noted that there have been improvements especially in the implementation of foreign-funded projects and programs.

Members of the 6th Regional Assembly, foreign and national dignitaries, officials of donor agencies, local officials and hundreds of other guests attended Adiong’s SORA, held at the refurbished Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Center inside the ARMM complex here.

The ARMM complex was not as heavily guarded compared to instances in the past that suspended ARMM Governor Zaldy Ampatuan delivered his SORA.

Adiong was installed acting governor on December 11, 2009 following the suspension and detention of ARMM Governor Zaldy Uy Ampatuan in connection with the Nov. 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre that left 58 people dead. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)

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