PNoy to meet with ARMM govs and mayors in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 Feb) — President Benigno Simeon Aquino III will meet with governors and mayors of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) at a summit scheduled here Tuesday “to discuss, among others, crisis management issues at every government level in the region,” the ARMM’s Bureau of Public Information said.

The governors of ARMM’s five provinces and mayors of its two cities and 116 towns, as well as other officials and legislators are expected to attend the summit, the second since June 2012.

Lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary, said the summit will “highlight the role of ARMM government units in the Mindanao peace process and (discuss) issues on disaster management, mitigation and response.”

The regional government, she said, hopes to  “capacitate local government units and cascade what it has done in terms of disaster risk management down to the local level.”

Alamia told members of the ARMM Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART) and non-governmental organizations operating in the ARMM that the region’s unique set-up calls for a “temporary special measure to respond to an abnormal situation” in the region.

Alamia said some agencies that are supposed to be on the forefront of emergency response have not been devolved to the ARMM and there are 12 municipalities that don’t have internal revenue allotment (IRA) and therefore have no source for the five per cent calamity fund required by law.

Displacement has also become the norm in some of the region’s unstable communities.

Alamia said the regional government has to take a proactive stance and provide immediate  intervention in times of emergencies, although the law does not provide for it.

The HEART is part of the ARMM’s response to the prevalence of displacement and emergencies in the region due to man-made and natural calamities.

The ARMM, set up in 1990, will be abolished to give way to the Bangsamoro, the new autonomous political entity that would replace it. The ARMM will be deemed abolished as soon as the Bangsamoro Transition Authority is set up after the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

ARMM Gov Mujiv Hataman, whose three-year term from 2013 will be cut short when the Bangsamoro Transition Authority takes over after the Bangsamoro Basic Law is ratified, commended the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panels immediately after the January 25 signing of the last of the four annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, for “persevering and braving the needed sacrifices and heeding the clamor of the great majority of Filipinos for a peaceful resolution to the decades-old conflict in Mindanao.”

“As we promised, we are more than willing to sacrifice while we prepare the bureaucracy for a smooth transition of power towards the new political set-up,” Hataman said. (MindaNews)