ARMM execs confident of transition to Bangsamoro gov't next year
- Philippine Star
By John Unson, Philippine Star
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Regional officials are certain the commemoration on Monday of the 29th founding anniversary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is the last.
The plebiscite for ARMM’s replacement with a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or BARMM, through the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), is slated Jan. 21, 2019.
ARMM officials are optimistic the Supreme Court will dismiss the bid of Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan Jr. to block the BOL’s implementation, citing that it is unconstitutional.
“We will vote in favor of the BOL during the January 21 plebiscite in the proposed territory of BARMM. It will be a `yes’ vote from us,” Gov. Mujiv Hataman, now a second-termer ARMM regional governor, said on Saturday.
He said their celebration on Monday of ARMM’s 29th founding anniversary is the region’s last.
“We are convinced a transition from ARMM to BARMM will happen next year,” he said.
Once ratified via the January 21 referendum, the BOL shall, by legal implication, deactivate ARMM, which is covered by a regional charter, the Republic 9054, to pave the way for the setting up of BARMM.
The BARMM shall be managed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has two peace compacts with the national government --- the 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.
“We are looking forward to a transition next year. In the meantime, our concern is beating deadlines for so many pro-people projects we are implementing in support of the peace process,” Hataman said.
The ARMM government has intensified the relief operations of its Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team, or HEART, in the region’s five provinces in anticipation of the contingent’s possible disbandment as a consequence of the transition process.
HEART workers treated 4,097 medical and dental patients in several towns in Maguindanao in the past two weeks, most of them marginalized residents and relatives of MILF members.
The current operation of HEART in Maguindanao was preceded by its extensive medical and dental outreach missions in Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and in Sulu, whose provincial leadership is rabidly opposed to the replacement of ARMM with a Bangsamoro entity.
Hataman said also being accelerated now is their construction of more than a thousand core shelters for poor families in ARMM’s five provinces under the Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development for Growth and Empowerment program.
Among the beneficiaries of the core shelters are members of the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan who have returned to the fold of law through the intercession of the ARMM regional peace and order council.
The ARMM 29th founding anniversary on Monday shall be capped off with cultural programs depicting the ethnicity of the region’s Mixed Muslim, Christian and Lumad communities.
In an emailed statement, the ARMM’s Bureau of Public Information said Hataman, who is aspiring for the lone congressional seat in Basilan, is to deliver on December 20 his last state-of-the region address, or SORA.
The SORA is a yearly activity of the 24-seat Regional Assembly, touted as the “Little Congress” of the autonomous region.