Governor Hataman plans austere observance of 100-day service stint PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 April 2012 14:59

The removal of thousands of ghost employees listed in payrolls of different agencies of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and ending the anomalous “cash advances” by officials are among the highlights of next week’s accomplishment report for the first 100 days in office of acting ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

Hataman, an ethnic Yakan and a political protégé of President Benigno Aquino III, assumed acting governor of ARMM in late December 2011 and oversees the autonomous region as caretaker pending the election of a regular set of regional officials in 2013.

Hadji Nash Maulana, director of the ARMM’s Bureau of Public Information (BPI), said they expect Hataman, former representative of the Anak Mindanao Partylist, to identify administrative and fiscal concerns that his administration intends to address in the coming months.

Maulana said the first 100 days in office of the Hataman administration on April 16 shall be observed without any expensive festivity.

“Because the regional governor wants to show that unwise spending of government funds is not good governance,” Maulana said.

Hataman’s caretaker administration came to form with the effective synchronization, through Republic Act 10153, of the supposed August 8, 2011 regional political exercise with the May 2013 local and senatorial elections.

The law that reset the region’s elections also paved the way for President Aquino’s appointment of Hataman as acting regional governor and Bainon Karon as acting ARMM vice governor and for them to jointly manage the regional government until June 30, 2013.

Hataman said among the initial accomplishments of his administration was his campaign to rid ARMM agencies of thousands of ghost employees.

He said he had also initiated the release of salaries of public school teachers in the autonomous region through automated teller machines using a fool-proof bank payroll system.

“Most importantly, we have stopped this very irregular tradition of `cash advances’ from the coffers of departments and support offices under the executive department of ARMM,” Hataman said.

Certain ARMM employees were usually allowed to post mandatory cash bonds to enable them to draw huge cash advances, some amounting from P1 million to P3 million, which were spent for operations and other emergency expenses.

“I can proudly say we don’t have that anomalous system now. Funds are released only as either reimbursements or, in some cases, pre-payments, but strictly in accordance with existing accounting rules set forth by the Commission on Audit,” Hataman said.

He said he also stopped the practice by the Office of the Regional Governor (ORG) of deducting P10 percent from the amount of corresponding quarterly budget packages regional departments and support offices receive from the central office of the Department of Budget and Management.

“When I came in, there were some guys that told me that that was the easiest way for us to earn money so I immediately addressed the issue. Now that’s a thing of the past,” Hataman said.

Hataman said the April 17 observance of his first 100 days in office at the 32-hectare ARMM compound here will be participated in by representatives of
different civil society organizations and representatives of various peace advocacy outfits helping push forward Malacañang’s Mindanao peace overture.

“But we will not have any expensive merry-making,” Hataman said.

The ARMM was first established in 1990 with the ratification of its charter, Republic Act 6734, which initially covered the geographically-scattered Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in Central Mindanao, and the island provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The ARMM’s first charter was amended through another referendum in August 2001 and became Republic Act 9054, which extended ARMM’s coverage to the island province of Basilan and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi. — Felix Ostrea