MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino is meeting with governors belonging to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao this afternoon to “get more feedback” on how to carry out reforms in the region.
Among those expected to attend the meeting are ARMM Acting Governor Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong, Basilan Governor Jun Akbar, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan, Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, and Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong.
“Well, part of it is we will get more feedback from them. We had a meeting previously. We solicited their inputs with regards to how do we actually fix the ARMM. ‘Yung, I think everybody is aware already the [Commission on Audit] did come up with an audit and in the audit they were just talking about a portion of the budgetary support for the ARMM. For instance, the office of the regional governor previously had something like a P2-billion allocation and of the P2-billion, there is about a billion—well, actually over a billion—that was already under question. Then the subsequent findings also of another portion of the ARMM had similar results. I’ve asked the COA to do an even more in-depth. The [Department of the Interior and Local Government] will be assisting me in this case,” Aquino said.
“We want to know what has happened there. So I think all of us have agreed, especially Governor Sakur Tan of Sulu, is very vocal saying that the services or the basic services due them—be it teachers, be it health professionals—has never reached them. So there are problems there that if not addressed will lead to the continued instability. So the primary focus of the meeting is get everybody’s opinions, get a consensus going and work towards achieving the reformation in the ARMM,” he added.
Also attending the meeting are DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, Mindanao Development Authority Chair Lualhati Antonino and presidential adviser on political affairs Ronald Llamas.
Asked if they will discuss the Palace proposal to postpone the ARMM elections and synchronize it with the the 2013 polls, Aquino said, “Nagkaroon na ng discussions previously sa kanila at ‘yung inputs nila, I understand, the large part have been included already in the proposed measure.”
Aquino again made a pitch for the postponement of the elections and the measure that will allow Malacañang to appoint OICs in the region for the meantime.
“Ang hinahabol natin, postponement is just a means towards the end. Ano ‘yung end? ‘Yung end is to have synchronized elections. We think ‘yung institutional change na kakailanganin sa ARMM ay tanggalin mo na ‘yung proseso kung saan ‘yung eleksyon nila ay parating nahuhuli. Tuloy, nagkakaroon ng potential para sa tinatawag nilang command votes. Alam naman po niyo, nadali rin tayo ‘nung tumakbo tayong senador, kasama ng ibang miyembro ng opposition noon na talagang parang kulang pa ‘yung nakuha naming botante sa mga ininspeksyon sa bawat prisinto,” Aquino said.