ARMM governor speaks on Mindanao issues in U.S. forum
COTABATO CITY – Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) recently flew to Washington D.C. where he spoke at a forum organized by the Philippine Embassy, U.s.-philippines Society and SAIS Southeast Asia Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Hataman discussed the Duterte government’s initiatives on peace, security, and economic development in the autonomous region as well as the proposed Bangsamoro autonomy in the southern Philippines. He has been consistent in expressing full support to the peace process and even offered to step down – even before his term ends on 2019 – should there be a new government that will be formed for the region as a result of the Mindanao peace agreement.
Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte established a transition commission for Bangsamoro self-government to replace the ARMM, but decided that the current regional government should remain in place. ARMM covers the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.
In 2014, Hataman also spoke on the southern peace process under the Aquino administration in Washington D.C. through the invitation of the U.s.-philippines Society, a private sector initiative whose concerns are in the areas of security, trade, investments, tourism, the environment, history, education and culture.
Hataman has always been a man on a mission. With a strong desire to correct the many misconceptions about the Bangsamoro, Hataman led the region by instituting major reforms that showed the regional government’s innate capacity for self-governance.
Upon the passage of the ARMM Synchronization Law in 2011, Hataman was appointed as the region’s Oic-governor by former President Benigno Aquino and in 2013, he ran and won the elections as ARMM governor, and was then re-elected for a second term in May 2016.
The Good Governance, Peace and Security, and Socio Economic Development model was Hataman’s brainchild, which outline the major pillars of reform in the region. In his first year as Regional Governor, he implemented policies, programs, and projects which surpassed the previous achievements of the region in its more than two-decades of existence. It was this exemplary display of leadership that earned the trust of the National Government and investors, which led to the passage of a bigger budget for the ARMM, an increase in investments, and a marked growth in the region’s GDP.
Hataman is also known as a strong advocate of the Bangsamoro peace process and because of his track record as regional governor, he was selected as an Eisenhower Fellow in 2013. He was also given the Excellence in Public Service Award in 2014 by the Bulong Pulungan, an organization of journalists in the Philippines, and the Outstanding Governorship Award in 2015 and 2016 by the Superbrands Marketing International.
Prior to his stint as governor of the region, Hataman was already known for his dedication to the Bangsamoro. A former student-leader and human rights activist, he was known for his participation inthe people’s struggle in asserting their right to self-determination, and his commitment to just means towards ending the Mindanao conflict. As a response to the alarming human rights violations committed both by state and nonstate armed groups in Basilan, he founded the Kahapan Foundation in 1995.
In 2001, he elected congressman under the Anak Mindanao partylist and served for three terms. As a lawmaker, he was one of the principal authors of the Anti-religious and Racial Profiling Act of 2010. He also filed an Act Prohibiting Discrimination Against Persons on Account of Ethnic Origin and/or Religious Belief, among other anti-discrimination bills. Hataman was born to a Yakan father from Sumisip town in Basilan and a Tausug mother from Sulu’s Pata town and is married to Anak Mindanao party-list Congresswoman Sitti Djalia Turabin, with whom he has five children.