Address ARMM issues first before passing BBL – Mindanao solon
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A representative from Lanao del Norte is urging the national government to review and address the issues hounding the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) first as Congress prepares to tackle the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that has been certified as urgent legislation by President Duterte.
Lanao del Norte 1st District Representative Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo said various issues now hounding the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) must be addressed before it could be transformed into a new political entity under the BBL.
Prior to the transition of ARMM into a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, reforms in all government branches and units in the area must be introduced first, said Dimaporo, although Lanao del Norte is not part of the ARMM.
“This is why the people of ARMM clamor for change. It is difficult to get the national leadership to sympathize with the needs of the regional government,” he said in a statement on Monday, Nov. 13.
Dimaporo cited the P8 billion worth of development funds, which was taken out of the ARMM budget and was transferred to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) when Sen. Panfilo Lacson questioned it. It was later converted to fund the Commission on Higher Education’s free tertiary education.
“If the good senator (Lacson) had a problem with the transfer of funds by the House of Representatives, why did they not just return it to the ARMM? Especially since it is a region wrought with poverty and in need of development,” he said.
Dimaporo said there is no reason for the national government to give ARMM its share of the pie since the new regional leadership, under Gov. Mujiv Hataman, has made significant changes in governing the region.
“What the Hataman administration showed me is that government in ARMM can work. But the critical ingredients for true change to happen in Muslim Mindanao is the financial commitment by the national government to fund key socio-economic programs and good leaders who are willing to institutionalize public service,” he said.
“If there is a high incidence of poverty and a culture of corruption then there exists a socio-economic environment that is the breeding ground for internal security threats such as insurgents and terrorism,” Dimaporo added.
Dimaporo said ARMM’s growth is a mirror to counter-measure the extremist movement and violence perpetrated by some armed groups in the region.