ARMM reform agenda continues to bear fruit, Gov. Hataman tells President Aquino

Acting Regional Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Friday told President Aquino the reforms he ordered to be implemented in the graft-ridden ARMM had been successful.

The President visited the seat of the ARMM to check on the reforms being instituted by his appointed caretakers in the 23-year old regional institution.

Aquino listened to a 15-minute presentation that highlighted the remarkable performance of the region’s caretaker administration in its 15 months in office.

Hataman said the bureaucratic reforms they have introduced yielded unprecedented savings and put a stop on influence peddling and other anomalous practices that have come to define the ARMM in previous administrations.

Hataman provided a rundown of ongoing projects and the overall status of reforming the institution that has been previously dubbed as a “failed experiment” by President Aquino.

The regional caretaker cited the savings generated by the Department of Public Works and Highways in the region from its 2012 budget, which amounts to P136.362 million, through fiscal prudence and the enforcement of open and competitive biddings.

The savings were not pocketed, Hataman said, but used by the agency to procure 13 heavy equipment and 15 motor vehicles and 9 survey instruments.

DPWH-ARMM Secretary Emil Sadain said the acquisition was first of its kind in 22 years. “Wala ng palakasan, wala ng lagayan (No more influence peddling, no more bribery),” he said.

Hataman said the regional government no longer allows the hiring and promotion of employees based on influence or reasons that do not warrant their qualification. A special screening board has been set up to oversee hiring and promotion in the regional government, he said.

“The president supported the deferment of the scheduled ARMM elections in 2011 to make way for needed reforms in the ARMM. Now, key improvements are starting to take hold a year and three months after his appointed officials took on the regional leadership,” a civil society organization noted.

Hataman is hoping to secure a fresh mandate in the upcoming 2013 synchronized elections. Hataman said the reforms they started are primarily meant to curb corruptions in the region, but, apparently, they have also caused the optimization of government funds.

"Its like hitting two birds with one stone," he added. President Aquino led the provincial sortie of Liberal Party senatorial candidates in Maguindanao where he was told a 12-0 victory for administration bet is still possible, legally, according to Maguindanao reelectionist Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu.

The good thing here was that both the gubernatorial candidates of Maguindanao, though they belonged to different party, have publicly delcared they will support President Aquino's senatorial aspirants.

Mayor Tocao Mastura, mayor of Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao and a former LP stalwart vowed to campaign for President Aquino's senatorial hopefuls because he believed and subscribed to President Aquino's "tuwid na daa" (straight path) advocacy.

Philippines News agency