Last ARMM speech: Region ready for Bangsamoro
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Trying to hold his tears, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Mujiv Hataman delivered the last state of the region address in Cotabato City on Monday, December 1, before he turns over the power to the Bangsamoro government once the basic law is ratified.
Explaining that he was able to fulfill his mission as the chief executive of the region, Hataman said his administration was able to bring in social reforms, good governance and stability which are vital foundations for the creation of the Bangsamoro government.
And in a rare event which at the same time symbolizes a brighter prospect of peace, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal attended the state of the region address along with Office of the Presidential Adviser to the Peace Process (OPAPP) chair Teresita Deles.
Taking over a shaky government riddled with controversies including corruption and impunity, Hataman said he can now confidently say that the present administration was able to bring back the trust of the nation and the people for the region.
"Naibalik po natin ang tiwala ng pambansang pamahalaan sa atin, naibalik natin ang tiwala at suporta ng ating mamayan sa pamahalaan ng ARMM, at higit sa lahat nabago natin ang negatibong pananaw sa atin ng mga taga-labas ng rehiyon," Hataman said.
He explained that his administration implemented the principle of "three pillars of reform" wherein the urgent tasks of the administration include the realization of good governance, socio-economic development at peace and security.
Hataman, however, commented that the secret behind the reforms is the active involvement of an empowered constituents and communities.
"Ang susi ng pagbabago na ating nakamit ngayon ay nasa kapasyahan ng ating mga mamamayan. Sila na sa kabila ng pagdurusa, sa kabila ng kahirapan ay patuloy na nagsusumikap at nag-aambag ng munting kontribusyon sa sarili nilang paraan para sa kaunlaran ng rehiyon at para sa ating kinabukasan," Hataman said.
One of the biggest challenges in ARMM, Hataman commented, was the issue on the lack of transparency in governance which motivated his cabinet secretaries to pursue honest and open transactions most especially on biddings.
The governor added that combatting patronage politics is essential in bringing transparency most especially in the hiring process of government employees.
"Lahat ng mga kwalipikado ay may patas na oportunidad nang makahanap ng trabaho sa ating pamahalaan na di na kelangang magbayad, mangoneksyon o dumaan sa palakasan," Hataman added.
About 454 government employees were hired and promoted last June while at least 1,323 qualified teachers were hired and assigned to provide services in public schools in ARMM.
Before the target abolition of ARMM, more than 2,000 teachers will be hired by the government to join the ranks of public school teachers, Hataman said.
He commented that the practice of politics of patronage in the previous administrations has resulted to the mismatch on the skills and assignments of the teachers.
And in line with the campaign for transparency, ARMM has implemented open governance wherein all departments and agencies are required to publish vital data of projects, funds and activities in their respective websites.
Efficiency has also been improved by institutionalizing better workflow and the creation of Citizens Charter in agencies that have frontline services.
Meanwhile, the participation of civil society organizations in the conceptualization of the Regional Economic and Development Planning Board with the local government units has also been institutionalized.
Hataman also added that for the first time, ARMM has reached 97% obligation accomplishment in the implementation of the bottom-up budgetting because of the active partnership of CSOs and the local governments.
In the early part of his administration, Hataman was labelled as the "ghostbuster" for eliminating ghost employees and students in the region, wherein between 2012 and 2013 at least 75,242 ghost students and 21,374 ghost enrollees were delisted.
"Ang mga estudyante natin sa elementarya ay nakakuha ng average score [sa National Achievement Test] na 62.2% kumpara sa 57.25% noong 2013, habang sa high school naman ay 44% mula sa dating 38.22% sa nakaraang taon," Hataman also shared.
After more than two decades, teachers have finally received benefits from their contributions to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) after the government settled at least P891.4 million worth of unpaid premiums.
Hataman shared that he will never forget the time when President Benigno Aquino III gave him a copy of the 2010 special audit report of ARMM where the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) was known as having the "best practice on corruption."
Today, DPWH-ARMM was given a makeover and is now known as one of the most efficient and meticulous in its spendings and auditing with at least P250.276 million savings this year.
At least 158.907 kilometers of road projects were also paved while more than 5 bridges, 13 water systems, 10 seaports and 8 flood control and drainage facilities were constructed.
With the efforts of the government to achive peace in the region, at least P2.0524 billion was also allocated for the 205.24 kilometer roads of peace while about P430 million worth of Pamana projects were delivered to different cooperatives and communities of the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
These projects coupled with peace efforts has also increased the confidence of businessmen and gave a boost on investments in the region with at least P1.46 billion worth of investments last year.
"Tumaas ang kumpyansa ng mga negosyante. sa 2013 nakita natin ang pagbugso ng investments sa ating rehiyon na umabot ng P1.46 billion. At sa third quarter pa lang ngayong taon pumalo sa mataas na record na P3.372 billion halaga ng investments," Hataman said.
Earlier this year, the first international business conference involving about 400 local businessmen and investors from Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia was held in Tawi-Tawi, which tackled improving trading especially on power generation and sea weeds trading.
From -0.03% gross regional domestic product in 2011 it has already increased to 3.6% in 2013, Hataman shared.
For the health sector, ARMM was also recognized as the most improved region in implementing the commitment on the United Nations Millenium Development Goals in addressing maternal and infant mortality.
From 835,153 Philhealth card holders in 2012, at least 1,535,661 members have received their cards in the month of October this year.
"Hindi lang po nagiging masagana ang ating rehiyon ngayon, ginagawa pa po itong malusog ng ating Department of Health sa tuloy tuloy nitong mga kampanyang pangkalusugan gaya ng anti-polio, laban sa tigdas at marami pa... Tayo ang pinakamataas na bilang na coverage sa ligtas tigdas 2014 sa buong bansa, umabot tayo sa 97% sa measles sa buong target population at kasabay nito nag-95% naman tayo sa polio vaccination," Hataman shared.
In his remaining days as governor of ARMM, Hataman commented that the achievements attained by this so-called "failed experiment" is proof that more will be actualized in the creation of the Bangsamoro government.
"Kung ano po ang inabot natin ngayon, natitiyak ko po na mas higit pa ang ating makakamit kapag tatag na ang Bangsamoro," said Hataman. "Alalahanin po natin na ang tinatamasa natin ngayon ay bunga ng dugo at pawis ng ating mga ninuno, at ang Bangsamoro sa hinaharap ay bunga ng sakripisyo at pagsisikap nating lahat."
Recognizing the efforts of the MILF through the presence of Iqbal, Hataman said that the people should seize the opportunity and maximize the momentum of reforms in the region to benefit the entire Bangsamoro.
"Huwag po tayong mag-alangan sa kinabukasan at maniguro’t magkasya na lang sa kung anong meron tayo ngayon... Tandaan po natin na ang susi para sa kapayapaan sa buong bayan at kasaganaan para sa lahat, ay Bangsamoro higit sa ating sarili. Ang Bangsamoro ang magiging katuparan ng ating mga pangarap bilang mamamayan. Salubungin natin ito. yakapin natin ito ng buong puso," Hataman said. – Rappler.com