COTABATO CITY, Philippines - Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman on Tuesday expressed gratitude through his state of the region address (SORA) to foreign donors and to Malacañang for supporting efforts to “liberate” ARMM’s impoverished communities from poverty and underdevelopment.
Hataman’s more than one-hour SORA also delved on his administration’s accomplishments in fixing major fiscal and administrative woes in many ARMM agencies, among them the controversial regional education department.
He said credit would have to go to all sectors helping him put forward vital reforms in the graft-ridden regional bureaucracy.
The governor’s SORA at the 800-seater Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex inside the 32-hectare ARMM compound here was attended by Governors Jum Akbar of Basilan, Mamintal Adiong, Jr. of Lanao del Sur, Sadikul Sahali of Tawi-Tawi and Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao.
Lamitan City, seat of the Basilan provincial government, was represented in the event by Mayor Roderick Furigay and more than 30 of his 45 constituent-barangay chairmen.
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“It’s nice to hear Gov. Hataman renew his commitment to the ongoing peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in his SORA, “Furigay said.
Hataman said he will continue to introduce reforms needed to professionalize the ARMM bureaucracy to eradicate corruption from its ranks.
Hataman was appointed by President Benigno Aquino III as caretaker of ARMM in December 2011. Among his first official acts as officer-in-charge of the autonomous region was to purge the regional education department with thousands of ghost teachers and non-existent schools that were “convenient conduits” for releases of salaries and funds for maintenance and operating expenses.
The provincial governors present in the SORA said they were elated with Hataman’s invitation for them to grace the event, which was also witnessed by officials of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division led by Major Gen. Caesar Ronnie Ordoyo.
“We in Maguindanao appreciate the socio-economic and infrastructure projects the province got from the Hataman administration in recent months. We are grateful to President Aquino for his reform agenda for the autonomous region,” Mangudadatu told reporters.
Mangudadatu, provincial chairman of the Liberal Party for Maguindanao, said they will ask Hataman to deliver a keynote message in their planned grand public dialogue on the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) in Buluan town in the second district of the province on Jan. 12, 2013.
Hataman said it was for the widespread graft and corruption in the ranks of the regional government that prompted President Aquino to institute reforms to address the fiscal and administrative problems that hounded the ARMM’s line agencies and support offices.
Hataman said it was also because of the ARMM’s having been “synonymous” with corruption and disunity of the region’s political leaders that prompted Aquino to initiate bold steps aimed at converting the regional government into a functional bureaucracy.
He said he would continue to focus attention on the needs of the ARMM’s education department, such as more school chairs, classrooms and chalkboards.
Hataman, citing statistics from the Enhanced Basic Education Information System, said the region, in 2011, lacked 5,057 classrooms and 3,479 teachers, and thousands of school chairs.
He said the constraints are now being vigorously addressed with the support of Malacañang.
Hataman said there have also been dramatic improvements in the delivery of health services to the four corners of the autonomous region.
He said there were at least 245 infant deaths for every 100,000 recorded births in the region in previous years.
He said the recent figures supplied by the ARMM’s health department showed only 66 infant deaths from out of 100,000 births in the region.
“Surely we will be seeing more dramatic improvements now that we have a Regional Reproductive Health Law, which aims to protect the region’s women sector and improve the delivery of maternal and child care services to far-flung communities,” Hataman said.
|Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman relates to Major Gen. Caesar Ronnie Ordoyo of the Army's 6th Infantry Division the ARMM's peace and development goals for Maguindanao, which is under the 6th ID's jurisdiction, after delivering his first ever state of the region address in Cotabato City last Tuesday. (John Unson)|
Hataman signed the regional RH law, also known as Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act 292, in the presence of members of the 27-seat Regional Assembly, in a symbolic rite at the Office of the Regional Governor here last Monday.