COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 20 Dec) — Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) urged residents in the region to vote for the ratification of the law that would create the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the new political entity that will replace the 28-year old ARMM.
“Bumoto para sa mas nagkakaisa, mas makatarungan, at mas masaganang bukas. HInihimok ko kayong nandito ngayon: Maging instrumento ng liwanag at kaalaman ukol sa Bangsamoro organic law” (Vote for a more inclusive, more just and more progressive tomorrow. I urge you now: enlighten the people about the Bangsamoro law), Hataman said in his State of the Region Address (SORA) on Wednesday, December 19, his last as he makes a bid to return to Congress in May 2019, this time, no longer as paryt-list representative but the lone representative of Basilan
Among those in the audience at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Center inside the ARMM compound here were Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and MILF Peace Implementing Panel chair Mohagher Iqbal, incoming Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP) Carlito Galvez, the newly-retired Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and former PAPP Teresita Quintos-Deles.
Also present were Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu and his brother Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, and actor Robin Padilla.
Hataman, then a congressman representing Anak Mindanao (Amin) party-list, was named OIC Governor on Dec. 22, 2011 by then President Benigno Aquino III when the 2011 regional election was reset to May 2013. Hataman won in the 2013 and 2016 elections.
“Sa pitong taon, binago po natin ang lahat ng ito. At ang bukal ng pagbabago: tapat, mabisa, at mabuting pamamahala” (In seven years, we have introduced reforms, top of which is sincere, effective good governance), the governor said.
Hataman became emotional as he recalled how he started serving the Bangsamoro people, giving credit to then President Benigno Aquino III who appointed him OIC Governor in 2011.
“Nagtiwala siya sa ating mga Moro, na kaya nating pamunuan ang ating mga sarili, kaya nating makilahok sa pagbabago, kaya nating umasenso basta’t tama ang kundisyon” (He trusted the Moro, that we can govern ourselves, that we can participate in reforms, that we can progress given the right conditions), he said.
Gains, Concerns, Aspirations
In his last SORA, Hataman, who will be the last ARMM Governor once the Bangsamoro law is ratified, reported on the gains, concerns and aspirations of the regional government in the last seven years.
“Pitong taon. Totoo nga po: Napakalayo na ng ating narating sa loob ng maiksing panahon, lalo na kung ihahambing sa ating dating kalagayan” (Seven years. It is true: We have come this far in so short a time, especially if we are to compare this with our previous situation), Hataman said.
The ARMM Governor elected before him was Zaldy Uy Ampatuan, who was elected in 2005 and reelected in 2008 but arrested along with other family members following the massacre of 58 persons, 32 of them from the media, on November 23, 2009. Ampatuan’s
vice governor, Ansaruddin Adiong, assumed the post of Governor from December 2009 to December 2011.
Hataman cited the Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 which also set up the data base for government line agencies in the region.
He said the ARMM now has 80 database and 52 online services of line agencies and noted how these have helped speed up service. He added that transactions are now transparent for the public to scrutinize, ensuring judicious use of public funds.
From zero awards in 2015, Hataman said 23 local government units have been awarded the Seal of Good Local Governance in 2018.
“Nangunguna na tayo sa lahat ng rehiyon sa Mindanao. Dagdag rito ay 63 naman ang nakapasa sa Good Financial Housekeeping nung 2017” (We are leading among all regions in Mindanao. In addition, we have 63 LGUs that passed the Good Financial Housekeeping standsards in 2017), he said.
The ARMM’s Office of the Regional Governor has also passed the accreditation process and was granted the quality management certification by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – 9001:2015.
Hataman said this proves that the offices in ARMM and the Bangsamoro can be at par with global standards. He said receiving an ISO stamp of approval benefits the institution and encourages the entry of partners and investors.
He said 20 billion worth of investments have registered with the Regional Board of Investments from 2012 to 2018, employing a total of 15,507 persons.
ARMM also posted a record 7.3% gross regional domestic product growth rate in 2017, up from 0.40% the previous year, boosted mainly by the recovery of the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry, and Fishing sector.
The 2017 GRDP performance was the highest growth rate in the region’s history since its establishment in 1990. It surpassed the 2017 national economic average of 6.7 %.
Hataman said that while in the past ARMM was a headache because it bought down the national GDP, the ARMM now has contributed positively to pull the GDP up.
The regional government has also established programs and projects for more coordinated and focused interventions at the local level to achieve maximum impact of services, he said.
He cited the Program Against Violent Extremism (PAVE) for Peace, which was conceptualized based on the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte “to talk all” especially to those misguided individuals who wanted to return to the folds of the law.
The ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART) which is an emergency rapid response team, provides coordinated actions by all regional line agencies to limit the impact of disasters in the region.
The ARMM’s Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development for Growth and Empowerment (BRIDGE) is a poverty-alleviation program of the ARMM-Gov’t that caters primarily to address the core basic needs of the poorest of the poor in the region.
The ARMM HELPS, which stands for Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy, is an implementing strategy of the regional leadership to bring the services of the regional government closer to its constituents.
The HDAP or Humanitarian and Development Action Program implements various government initiatives specifically, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of both “horizontal” – in reference to school buildings, houses, and health centers – and “vertical” infrastructures – or roads and bridges, and provision of livelihood programs to promote peace and help the situation in calamity-affected communities specifically in 15 Maguindanao towns.
“Ang lahat ng ito ay mga sanga ng buo, malawakan, at sistematikong stratehiya. Kapag inabot ng serbisyo ang taumbayan; kapag ramdam niya ang pag-aaruga ng pamahalaan; kapag alam niyang meron siyang maaasahan—tiyak, magiging mas ganado siyang makiambag sa mas tahimik at asensadong pamayanan” (All of these are part of the widespread and systematic strategy. When services reach the citizenry, when citizens feel the care of government, when they know they have something to look forward to, surely they will be encouraged to participate in having a peaceful and progressive area), Hataman said. (Valerie P. Lambo / MindaNews contributor)