ARMM hurdles last Senate committee meeting
SENATORS HAVE commended the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for its improved governance under the leadership of Governor Mujiv Hataman, who was at the Senate for the region’s budget hearing.
“The ARMM has improved considerably in governance. In terms of governance ang daming improvement, kabilang na doon yung sa infrastructure, I [went] there years ago. Under Governor Mujiv, tumaas yung revenues, yung income at maraming business activities in the different provinces so there is really a big improvement and we have to give recognition Governor Mujiv for that,” Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said.
“You have to improve more the services before the Bangsamoro government steps in para walang anumang instrument na
magagamit against the ARMM and the government,” Senator Ejercito added. Referring to the presentation of the ARMM during the committee budget hearing of the Senate’s Committee on Finance, Senator Gregorio Honasan also commended the regional governor’s “very impressive presentation.”
Senator Honasan then sought the governor’s advice on how to sustain these developments in the Bangsamoro. “In terms of continuity and sustainability, ano ang nakikita mo sa transition na dapat bantayan at dapat iincorporate para kami naman sa inyong Senado ay matutukan namin yung magandang nangyari?”
Governor Hataman answered: “Ang pinaka goal dito ay gusto namin magsimula ang MILF na kumpleto ang data, para hindi maranasan kung ano ang naranasan namin noong nag umpisa ako as OIC sa ARMM. Ang pinaka-take ko dito ay maglagay ng tamang tao sa tamang posisyon.”
As for the proposed ARMM budget, about P14.6 billion is allotted for personnel services, including Retirement and Life Insurance Premiums. Another P13-billion is allocated for the capital outlay and the remaining P4.6-billion is for the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses.
But the mood around this year’s budget proposal is remarkably different, as the ARMM will soon be abolished for the transition of the new Bangsamoro government.
Senator Panfilo Lacson Jr. asked Governor Hataman to present the accomplishments and legacy of the ARMM. “Parang farewell presentation na ito sa ARMM, so we want to hear from you ano ba yung legacy ninyo and the most important thing na iiiwanan ninyo pagdating sa transition o iiwanan ninyo under sa BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law),” Senator Lacson said.
Challenges in the region
Before presenting the key milestones of the regional government, Governor Hataman said: “Madami na ang kuwento ang pinagdaanan natin, ang mga puna sa ARMM ay naging inspirasyon namin upang ayusin ang pamahalaan ng ARMM… naging posible ang mga impossible.”
Governor Hataman said he had to deal with a small budget for the region, the unpaid Government Service Insurance System premiums of the DEPEDARMM, a high poverty rate, security issues and ghost employees and ghost teachers and ghost students among others. This was during his first term as regional governor.
By then, Governor Hataman said, the regional government had begun the process and formulation of the ARMM reform agenda, with its three pillars of reform which include open governance, peace and security and socioeconomic.
In 2012, ARMM started with housekeeping with the regional government formulating its development plan and set up databases for all its line agencies. Now, about 80 databases of ARMM’S line agencies are functional. And in 2015, the Philippine Statistics Authority announced that the poverty incidence in ARMM improved over a period of three years with Tawi-tawi having recorded the lowest poverty incidence at 10.6 percent from a high of 21.9, in 2012. The Office of the Regional Governor was also awarded an ISO 9001:2008 certification that affirms its compliance with internationally accepted standards for quality customer service in early 2016. This is part of the regional government’s commitment to improve governance and provide people in the region the kind of public service they deserve.
From zero in 2015 to six in 2016: 19 towns and one city in the region have been conferred the Seal of Good Local Governance by the Department of the Interior and Local Government and there are now 63 passers of Good Financial Housekeeping in 2017 within ARMM.
The region was also commended by the Department of Education for its continuing data cleansing, as well as its settlement of more than P2 billion accounts-payable to GSIS. A total of 32,525 households were de-listed from the beneficiary list of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps due to eligibility problems.
For the regional government’s anti-poverty program, a total of 553 barangays received various projects through the region’s flagship program dubbed ARMM’S Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance, and Synergy. Some 13,100 families received food supplies, as well as core shelters, water systems, and electricity supplies, livelihood and hygiene kits from ARMM’S Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development for Growth and Empowerment or “Apat na Dapat” program.
The increased budget for infrastructure has led to the concreting of 1,572.861 kilometers of roads. This funding for infrastructure also went to the completion of 93 bridges, 95 ports, 31 flood control projects, 242 water system, 65 drainage systems, and 55 other infrastructure projects.
“This is more than enough na legacy ng ARMM sa Bangsamoro at mag tuturnover kami ng comprehensive plan,” Governor Hataman said. Ang pinaka-goal dito ay gusto namin magsimula ang MILF na kumpleto ang data, para hindi maranasan kung ano ang naranasan nung nag umpisa ako as OIC sa ARMM.”
ARMM is comprised of the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.