Hataman: reforms in ARMM agencies to continue amid odds PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 June 2014 13:00

The executive department of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is not affected by the threats on the lives of ARMM education officials, instigated by non-qualified applicants for teaching positions that a regional screening committee refused to enlist.

“To lead (faithfully) is to live dangerously,” was what the region’s chief executive, Gov. Mujiv Hataman, all can say about the threats.

Just last weekend, more than 400 appointees to different positions in line agencies of ARMM, some of them promoted to higher posts based on length of service, on-job trainings, and working attitude,, were sworn in by Hataman to office in a symbolic rite at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex inside the 32-hectare regional government compound in Cotabato City.

Hataman had told reporters the enlistment of new personnel and the promotions were done according to rigid procedures intended to professionalize the regional bureaucracy.

For rejecting recommendations from influential people and offers of up to P200,000 each by non-qualified applicants to permanent teaching positions, the lives of ARMM education officials are reportedly in danger.

Among those who had received death threats via text messages is London-trained industrial psychologist John Magno, the assistant secretary for operation of the ARMM’s Department of Education (DepEd).

Magno led the committee that screened more than a thousand teachers appointed to teaching positions recently by the region’s chief executive, Gov. Mujiv Hataman, in a mass enlistment process following the removal of thousands of “ghost teachers” from the DepEd-ARMM’s old payroll.

The hiring of new teachers, according to DepEd-ARMM, was facilitated based on qualifications, individual teaching proficiency tests, and willingness to work in remote areas and stay in poor, underdeveloped communities.

Also under threat is the region’s education secretary, lawyer Jamar Kulayan, who, along with Hataman, had suspended the release of maintenance and operational grants to dozens of non-existent schools in the ARMM provinces.

The region’s police director, Chief Supt. Noel Delos Reyes, has deployed uniformed operatives at the premises of the regional office of DepEd-ARMM in Cotabato City to secure education officials.

Hataman said he expected his subordinates at the DepEd-ARMM to receive death threats after having caught the ire of many applicants, whose applications they turned down for lack of qualification and for having flunked in admission exams.

He said security measures have been imposed. He said the threats will not affect the commitment of regional officials to pursue reforms in governance.

“We are introducing reforms into the regional bureaucracy. It is but normal to earn the wrath of people who are against our efforts to professionalize the operations of all line agencies under the regional government,” Hataman said.

The committee that supervised the teachers’ selection process had also rejected dozens of strongly worded letters from influential persons, some of them incumbent local executives, endorsing applicants whose qualifications did not fit the standards set by the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Budget and Management.

The more than 1,000 teachers Hataman had appointed in late May 2014 are now handling elementary and high school classes in  Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in Central Mindanao, and in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

“The reforms in ARMM agencies will continue amid odds,” Hataman had told reporters.