Adiong to turn over to Hataman P100M unspent ARMM funds PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 22 December 2011 14:48

The outgoing acting governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is to turn over not less than P100 million worth of unspent funds to newly-appointed ARMM officer-in-charge Mujiv Hataman during an official turn over in Cotabato City today (Dec.22) of the regional leadership.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, the executive secretary of acting ARMM Gov. Ansaruddin Adiong, said they are also to turn over to Hataman all vehicles of the regional government, including those in the line agencies and support offices under the executive department.

“We are keen on setting a good precedent. There shall be a very peaceful, smooth transition in the regional leadership,” Sinarimbo said in forum with reporters at the conference hall of the Office of the Regional Governor in Cotabato City.

President Aquino appointed Hataman early this week as OIC-governor of ARMM and, subsequently, personally administered in Malacañang Hataman’s oath of office, along with the newly-appointed regional vice governor, Bainon Karon, who is a member of the Moro National Liberation Front.

A rousing welcome awaits Hataman when he assumes office here today, according to his legal adviser, lawyer Anwar Malang.

Malang said more than 50 cause-oriented and peace advocacy groups will converge around the 32-hectare compound of ARMM when Hataman takes over from outgoing acting Gov. Ansaruddin Adiong, whose three-year term as regional vice governor ended on September 30.

Adiong has been managing the ARMM as acting governor since December 2009, following the detention of the region’s chief executive, Zaldy Ampatuan, in connection with the massacre of the 58 people in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao in November 23 of the same year.

Peace activists want President Aquino and Hataman to consult local sectors first on what projects are most needed in the ARMM before spending Malacañang P5.8 billion “stimulus grant” to jumpstart development in poor communities the region  under an officer-in-charge until 2013.

Oblate priest Eliseo Mercado, Jr., director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance in Cotabato City, said consultations would enable the ARMM’s Moro and Christian sectors to recommend what infrastructure projects are needed in their respective communities based on the local socio-economic settings.

“Since the President wants to introduce reforms in regional governance, it is best to start the reforms by allowing public participation in identifying projects they know can accelerate socio-economic growth in their communities,” said Mercado, whose peace-building projects in the ARMM are funded by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung of Germany.

Many of the ARMM’s more than 100 mayors are ranting on recent insinuations by Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo that huge chunks of Malacanang’s stimulus package for ARMM to complement President Aquino’s reform agenda for the region would be channeled directly to each of the area’s five provincial governors.

“We know for a fact that all of the provincial governors in the autonomous region have constituent-mayors that are politically hostile to them so how can we expect fairness in the allocations of the development funds? The voices of our poor people must be heard first any spending can be done,” said a town mayor in the first district of Lanao del Sur.

The provincial chairman of the Liberal Party for Maguindanao,  Mayor Hadji Tucao Mastura of Sultan Kudarat town, said they are convinced that Hataman, who is an ethnic Yakan from Sumisip, Basilan, will ensure transparency in  spending of whatever development fund President Aquino would pour into the region.

“We are ready to help the newly-appointed ARMM governor and President Aquino introduce reforms in the regional bureaucracy, but with the utmost participation of the region’s grassroots communities, especially the farming communities and the fisherfolks,” Mastura said.

Mastura said mayors should have a direct “hands on” participation in introducing reforms in the regional bureaucracy by supporting the development initiatives of Hataman and President Aquino in each of the region’s more than 100 towns.

Roderick Furigay, who is the mayor of Lamitan City, the capital of Basilan, said they are elated with Hataman’s appointment.

“Now it is someone from Basilan who will manage the ARMM until 2013. This is very consoling for us, people in Basilan. We ought to thank President Aquino for this,” Furigay said.

Furigay said he is certain Hataman would make his development projects in Basilan a real showcase of President Aquino’s reform agenda for the autonomous region. — Felix Ostrea