DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 July) – Two Mindanawons are now occupying top positions in the House of Representatives: Lanao del Sur second district representative Pangalian Balindong is the lone Mindanawon among six Deputy Speakers while Davao City’s third district representative, Isidro Ungab, is chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee.
The Deputy Speakers are the second highest-ranking officials of the Philippine House of Representatives. They preside in the absence of the House Speaker. Aside from Balindong, the other Deputy Speakers are Representatives Henedina Abad of Batanes, Georgidi Aggabao of the fourth district of Isabela, Sergio Apostol of the second district of Leyte, Carlos Padilla of Nueva Vizcaya and Roberto Puno of the first district of Antipolo City.
An AB Political Science graduate from the Manuel L Quezon University where he also received his Law degree, Balindong, 73, is serving his third consecutive term since 2007. But it is actually his fourth in Congress, having represented his district from 1995 to 1998.
Balindong, who earlier served as Assemblyman in the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, finished his Masters in Public Administration at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City.
Ungab, 52, a graduate of BS Agri Economics from the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna was account officer and development bank manager before entering politics. He served as city councilor representing the same district from 1995 to 2004. He was elected Representative in 2007, was reelected in 2010 and ran unopposed for his third term.
Ungab is also a graduate of Advanced Bank Management Program (ABMP) at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), obtained his Masters in Public Management (MPM) from the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) and finished a Command and General Staff Course in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo.
In a statement on July 19, Balindong described the signing of the Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing by the government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as a “great leap forward” for “national unity, peace and people’s welfare.”
“While the task of ensuring the birth of the Bangsamoro entity will no doubt entail a lot of pressure, patience, and perseverance, both on government and the Moro side, I am confident that with the good will and true sentiments for a lasting peace among our peoples, as personified by our negotiating panels and spearheaded by no less than our President Benigno S. Aquino III, it shall be done!,” he said.
Balindong noted that in achieving peace, “there can be no delay or dilly-dallying in the processes and compromises that have to be hammered out, crafted into agreements, and signed by the two sides.”
He urged the “speedy resolution” of the remaining issues and annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).
The FAB, signed on October 15, 2012 in Malacanan, provides that the status quo is unacceptable and that both parties would work for the creation of a new autonomous political entity that would replace the ARMM by 2016.
In his State of the Nation Address on July 22, President Aquino urged Congress to pass before the end of 2014 the Bangsamoro Basic Law that is being drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. Under the roadmap, the draft law will be submitted to Congress and the President will certify it as an urgent measure. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)