COTABATO CITY, Philippines – President Aquino on Friday endorsed again the candidacy for governor of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) of Mujiv Hataman whom he earlier appointed as caretaker of the region.


Aquino cited the improvements in the regional bureaucracy under Hataman’s leadership, which he said are worth continuing.


The President, who attended the grand proclamation rally of Liberal Party candidates for regional, provincial and municipal positions in Maguindanao in Buluan town on Friday, also urged the residents to support the re-election bid of Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu. He cited Mangudadatu’s accomplishments in pushing the peace and sustainable development in the area.


Before attending the rally, Aquino checked on the reforms being instituted by Hataman, the region’s Vice Gov. Bainon Karon and the 27 appointed members of the Regional Legislative Assembly. 


He listened to a 15-minute presentation that highlighted the performance of the region’s caretaker administration in its 15 months in office.


Hataman said the bureaucratic reforms they introduced yielded unprecedented savings and put a stop on influence peddling and other anomalous practices in ARMM.


He provided a rundown of ongoing projects and the overall status of reforming the institution that has been previously dubbed “failed experiment” by President Aquino.


The regional caretaker cited the savings generated by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the region from its 2012 budget, which amounted to P136.362 million. 


The savings were not pocketed, Hataman said, but used by the agency to procure 13 heavy equipment and 15 motor vehicles and nine survey instruments.