Only 7 of 116 ARMM towns receive Seal of Good Housekeeping

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 Feb) – Only seven out of 116 towns in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were awarded the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) for good governance performance in 2012,  a drop from 13 winners in 2011.

In 2011, 13 towns in the five-province, 116-town and two-city Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were awarded the SGH, two of them towns led by grandsons of the Ampatuan patriarch, former three-term Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr.

Four of the seven winners in 2012 are from Maguindanao: Datu Odin Sinsuat under Mayor Lester Sinsuat, Parang under Mayor Ibrahim Ibay, Sultan Mastura under Mayor Armando Mastura, and Upi under Mayor Ramon Piang;  two from Lanao del Sur: Ganassi under Mayor Alrashid Macapodi and Wao under Mayor Elvino Balicao, Jr.  and one from Sulu: Siasi under Mayor Arthur Muksan.

Ibay Piang, Macapodi and Balicao were reelected mayor in 2013. Lester Sinsuat is now Maguindanao vice governor while his father, Datuombra is now mayor of Datu Odin Sinsuat town. The Siasi mayor now is Mussah Muksan, wife of Arthur  while the Sultan Mastura mayor is Rauf Mastura, son of Armando.

In 2011, 10 of the 13 winners were from Maguindanao, two from Sulu and one from Lanao del Sur.

ARMM comprises the three provinces plus Basilan and Tawi-tawi and the cities of  Marawi and Lamitan.

The SGH is a prerequisite to availing a million pesos each from the Department of Interior and Local Government’s Performance Challenge Fund (PCF),  an incentive scheme for mayors “who can comply with the government’s full disclosure policy on the use of public funds, exemplary governance and delivery of  basic services.”

The mayors of the winning towns for SGH in 2011 went up the stage during the second day of the first ARMM Summit in June 2012 to receive a million peso cheque and a  plaque of recognition from President Aquino, then Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo and then OIC ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman.

The winners for 2012 received their awards onstage from Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas and ARMM Governor Hataman on February 12, 2014.

Of the seven towns given the SGH for 2012, five are second-time winners, having won the same award in 2011: Datu Odin Sinsuat, Parang, Upi and Sultan Mastura in Maguindanao and Wao in Lanao del Sur.

In 2011, the towns that got an SGH were Lanao del Sur’s Wao town under Mayor Elvino Balicao, Jr.; Sulu’s Pandami under Mayor Berto Hatta and Panglima Estino under Mayor Munib Estino; Maguindanao’s Datu Odin Sinsuat under Mayor Datu Lester Sinsuat,  Parang under  Mayor Ibrahim Ibay,  Sultan Kudarat under Mayor Tocao Mastura, Upi under Mayor Ramon Piang, Sultan Mastura under Mayor Armando Mastura, Mamasapano under Mayor Tahirodin Benzar Ampatuan, a grandson of the Ampatuan patriarch, Andal Ampatuan, Sr.; Datu Saudi Ampatuan under another grandson, Mayor Datu Saudi Sean Ampatuan III; Guindulungan under Mayor Guaidzali Midtimbang, Talayan under Mayor Tungkang Midtimbang and Paglat under Mayor Ibrahim Langkuno.

According to the website of the DILG, the SGH is in line with its commitment to “aggressively scale up interventions to elevate the practice of governance that values transparency, accountability, participation and performance into an institutionalized status.”

The project aims to recognize local government units with good governance performance in internal housekeeping particularly on four areas: Good Planning; Sound Fiscal Management; Transparency and Accountability; and Valuing of Performance Monitoring.

The seven towns were cited for their compliance with the DILG memo circular on full disclosure policy and  also for having “no COA (Commission on Audit) adverse finding on financial transactions.”

Datu Odin Sinsuat under Mayor Lester Sinsuat was also recognized on April 3, 2012 as Citizen’s Satisfaction Center, Seal of Excellence and for its adherence to the requirements provided by Republic Act No. 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape of 2007.

Sultan Mastura under then Mayor Armand Mastura was a recipient of  several awards including the Gawad Pamana ng Lahi in 2011, Galing Pook 2010 and Civil Service Performance Award 2010.

Upi has been a consistent winner of various government initiatives with Mayor Piang recognized not only within the region but also in the entire country.

Like Mayor Piang, Wao’s Mayor Balicao has also been a consistent awardee and the town in 2011 won the Galing Pook for two environmental programs.

Parang under Mayor Ibay has also initiated several innovative programs including 511 or the Iranun Rescue Assistance and Institutional and management strengthening system. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)