People’s cultures, traditions add color to ARMM festivities PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 21 November 2014 12:01

Thousands visited the compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in Cotabato City from Monday till Wednesday to see tribal villages built to showcase the ethnicity of ARMM’s Muslim, Christian and lumad folks.

The Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi mock enclaves inside the 32-hectare regional government center are among the highlights of the month-long celebration of the ARMM’s 25th founding anniversary, which officially started Wednesday.

The anniversary festivity was first launched last November 7 in Tawi-Tawi, during the region’s commemoration of the Sheik Karimul Makdum Day.

The yearly holiday is observed in recognition of the arrival in Simunal town in Tawi-Tawi in the 14th century of Makdum, an Arab cleric, to spread Islam.

A cultural fluvial parade,  participated by ARMM’s rank-and-file personnel, employees of local government units and provincial offices of regional line agencies, capped off Wednesday’s ARMM anniversary activities at the ARMM compound in west of Cotabato City.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said their celebration of the ARMM’s 25th founding anniversary is also meant to welcome the creation next year of the Bangsamoro political outfit to replace the regional government, based on the peace compact between Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“By all indications, this anniversary feast could be our last,” Hataman said.

The five provincial villages inside the ARMM compound depicts the unique Tausog, Yakan, Maguindanao, Samah, Badjao and Maranaw cultures and ways of life.

Each village display traditional and indigenous crafts and showcases how ethnic groups from each of the region’s five provinces survive through the daily socio-economic and political challenges in rural settings.

Employees of different ARMM agencies and the Office of the Regional Governor (ORG), touted as “Little Malacañang” of the region, said it was only in the past three years that the regional government became efficient in the delivery of services and in implementing costly projects in the provinces.

“For 22 years, the ARMM’s existence was not much felt in far-flung areas. It was only under this administration that the service facets of the regional government had reached the grassroots communities,” said Amir Mawalil, director of the region’s Bureau of Public Information.

Reporters covering the ARMM since 1990 agreed with Mawalil’s assertion.

“It was only in 2012 when the regional government started implementing massive socio-economic projects, infrastructure projects in the region, something past administrations failed to do,” a Moro journalist said.

A radio reporter, who is covering both the ORG and the 24-seat Regional Legislative Assembly, said the autonomous region could have long been a progressive area if not for the mismanagement of officials at its helm from 1989 to 2011.

Hataman awarded on Tuesday night with a special citation the Regional Board of Investments for having ushered in more than P3 billion worth of investments into the region in the past three years.

The investment turnout was more than a hundred-fold higher than what the ARMM had generated from 1990 to 2012.

“This feat would not be realized if not for the cooperation and good relations of the region’s security sector, the provincial and municipal officials, the business communities, and the office of Gov. Hataman” said Bai Sandra Siang, chairperson of the Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kutawato.

Hataman said this year’s regional anniversary celebration, to last until December 17, is aimed at educating the public on the importance of cooperation and political solidarity among the region’s culturally-pluralistic communities.

The region is also home to indigenous non-Muslim highland Tedurays, also beneficiaries of costly projects of the ARMM government.