Friday, August 26, 2011

President Aquino to announce choice for ARMM OIC in October

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo speaks to Sulu Governor Sakur Tan during a conference in Patikul town. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 26, 2011) – Manila is set to formally announce its choice for acting governor in the Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao, a senior government official said.

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said they will make the announcement in October 1.

The government has received close to a hundred nominations and applications for the top post, but Robredo said those aspiring to become the acting governor in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) must introduce reforms set by President Benigno Aquino.

Sulu Governor Sakur Tan has repeatedly told Aquino that his province wanted to be out of ARMM due to its lack of development and infrastructure support from the regional government – from the time of former Governor Zaldy Ampatuan to his deputy Ansaruddin Adiong, now acting governor.

“May isang mahalagang bagay na mangyayari, sa October 1 ay magkakaroon na ng bagong pamunuan yun ARMM. Ibig sabihin ay may mas malalaking pananagutan na ang pamahalaan national sa ARMM.”

“Yun sinasabi dati ni Sakur na hihiwalay siya sa ARMM, eh palagay ko hindi ito yun panahon para siya humiwalay sa ARMM. Ang aming pong pakiusap ay hindi lamang biyaya ang dadalhin dito ng bagong pamunuan. Yun bagong pamunuan ay may hihingiin yun na mga obligasyon, ibig sabihin ay walang mga bagay na magandang mangyayari kung walang bahagi ang atin pong nasa lokal at ang ibig sabihin noon ay walang benepisyo kung walang sakripisyo,” Robredo said during his recent visit to Sulu.

Robredo did not say who would be chosen to run the ARMM until new elections are held in 2013, but among those aspiring to become acting governor were Muslim politicians who belong to powerful clans in Mindanao, and leaders from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is currently negotiating peace with the Aquino government.

Last month, Robredo together with Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles, and Mindanao Development Authority chief Lualhati Antonino unveiled a package of government aid for Sulu province.

Soliman brought some 2,200 bags or about 110 tons of rice for distribution to Sulu’s 19 towns. And Deles launched the so-called “Pamana” program or the “Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan,” a new government anti-poverty and peace program.

She also announced the funding for a road project in Kalingalang Kaluang town and an integrated market in the town of Maimbung where Tan led the officials in a ground-breaking ceremony witnessed by thousands of people who welcomed them.

“These are just some of the development projects we have for the people of Sulu and these projects all come from President Benigno Aquino. And we are happy that Governor Sakur Tan is pursuing a lot of projects for Sulu,” Deles said.

Tan said more housing projects are also underway in many towns as part of his anti-poverty programs in partnership with the Gawad Kalinga foundation and the Aquino government. Tan funded hundreds of houses for the poor in Sulu the past years and is a strong advocate of peace and development in the South.

He also gave a copy of Sulu’s Provincial Development and Framework Plan to the visiting officials.

Antonino, a former lawmaker, praised Tan for his leadership and pledged more projects for Sulu. “I promised you Governor Tan that I will bring to the President and report all these things, these projects that you have undertaken in Sulu,” she said during a program held a public plaza in Maimbung town.

Tan also toured Aquino’s officials in different areas in Sulu and showed them various development and humanitarian projects in Maimbung, Talipao, Jolo and Patikul towns.

Early this year, the Department of Agriculture and the Sulu provincial government have jointly funded the construction of a fish port and cold storage facility in Maimbung town. (Mindanao Examiner)

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