Deprecated: Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/zamboan8/public_html/armm/zest/lib/mysql.class.php on line 21

Deprecated: Function ereg_replace() is deprecated in /home/zamboan8/public_html/armm/zest/lib/template.class.php on line 55

Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /home/zamboan8/public_html/armm/zest/lib/vars.class.php on line 59

Deprecated: Function ereg_replace() is deprecated in /home/zamboan8/public_html/armm/zest/lib/template.class.php on line 55
ARMM, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Philippines, armm
ARMM Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
Republic Act 6734
Do your shopping at Zamboanga.comZ-Stores Check your FREE Z-Mail here: yourname@zamboanga.comZ-Mail Box Z-News - update yourself on the latest local news.Z-News Z-Weather - check the current local forecast.Z-Weather Z-Community - come join our community!Z-Community Z-Guest - view our guest list and add your comments.Z-Guests Z-Armm Post your comments.A R M M Enjoy the beaches of Zamboanga CityZ-Beaches Enjoy travelling around the worldZ-World Help improve our cityZ-Editorials
ARMM Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
Republic Act 6734
What does the the word Autonomous mean?

The dictionary defines autonomous as: Independent; self-governing
Derived from the Greek words: autos = self + nomos = law, rule
Autonomy = A self-governing community or group

What is the purpose of the ARMM? Simple, autonomy for the Muslim community in the Philippines.
Is there a Separation of Church and State in the Philippines?
The Constitution says YES. In practice NO. Only the MUSLIMS are Financially supported by the government. The Philippine government supports two Muslim institutions; the ARMM and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. The Philippine government (A Christian Country) financially supports only one religion: The Muslims!
If the Philippine government continues this practice of financially supporting the Muslims, the Muslims will not only get an autonomous government in Mindanao but the entire Philippines will be a Muslim Country by the year 2060. Read: How Medina became "The second holiest site in Islam".
| Administration
Wednesday, 7. October 2015 01:32
Thank you for stopping by my site. Here you can leave your mark.
Total Records: 43   Records Viewed Per Page: 30     Next Page
Name Comments
43) IP logged  Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_6_8) AppleWebKit/534.52.7 (K 
ARMM P12.4 Billion 2012 budget  
Tuesday, 10. January 2012 23:37  Write a comment

Senators ask: How will ARMM spend P12.4B budget?

MANILA, Philippines - Senators are raising concerns over the how the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao's (ARMM) proposed P12.47 billion budget for next year-the highest in its 20-year existence-would be spent, considering how its funds were wrongly spent or unaccounted for in the past.

During a hearing on the ARMM's budget on Monday, Senate finance committee chairman Franklin Drilon noted that a total of P123.6 billion has been allocated to the ARMM since its establishment in 1991, but it remains one of the poorest and underdeveloped regions in the country

He also cited a report by the Commission on Audit (COA) showing that P1.49 billion went to "spurious" public works projects in the region from 2008 to 2009.

The COA report said P1.123 billion for public works went to suppliers and contractors with no documents or used fake ones.

The same report also indicated that certain individuals made P1.86 billion in cash advances, with one encashment amounting to P98.25 million in one day, despite a rule that all payments must be in check.

"How can we, in conscience, face again the Filipino people and say we need more money because our region is so poor?" Drilon said. "It is difficult not to consider that the ARMM is a failed experiment if we look at the COA report."

Aside from a budget of P12.46 billion for 2012, the ARMM also has an internal revenue allotment of P14.2 billion, allocations from other government agencies amounting to P11.5 billion, and P560 million from the priority development assistance fund or pork barrel of its representatives in Congress.

Drilon told ARMM officials to submit to the Senate a detailed explanation of how the money will be spent.

He also asked them why nobody spoke out against about corruption despite the glaring evidence.

Ansaruddin Adiong, the acting ARMM governor, said he was focused on his job as vice governor from 2008 to 2009. Adiong replaced Zaldy Ampatuan, who was arrested in 2009 for the Maguindanao massacre.

Other officials like Ronnie Sinsuat, the speaker of ARMM's legislative assembly, explained that they were not yet in power at that time.

"But you are part of the community of the society governed by the charter of the ARMM … You must know what was going on," said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. "Why was it that none of the leaders of the ARMM stood up and said, 'Tama na, sobra na, itigil na, kawawa naman ang mga kababayan natin?'"

Adiong and ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo later admitted that they did nothing because previous officials had the support former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration.

"'Yon pong absolute control sa lahat ng instrumento ng estado, mahirap kalabanin 'yon kaya siguro walang nangahas magsalita noong panahon na 'yon," Sinarimbo told reporters after the hearing.

For Drilon, the revelations during Monday's hearing prove the need to postpone the elections in the ARMM and appoint officers-in-charge who will institute reforms.

Drilon is the author of the law seeking to postpone the elections and appoint officers-in-charge, which the Supreme Court recently stopped through a temporary restraining order.
42) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.1 
Wednesday, 7. September 2011 19:21  Write a comment

Supreme Court asked to prevent appointment of Armm OICs
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

THE election lawyer of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has asked the Supreme Court to prevent the Aquino government from appointing officers-in-charge (OICs) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm).

The Supreme Court should first resolve all petitions disputing the validity of Republic Act 10153, the law that cancelled the August 8, 2011 elections in the Armm, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said in a petition filed on Monday.

Besides being one of the petitioners who questioned the Armm poll postponement, Macalintal also disputed the legality of the Aquino administration's plan to appoint OICs once terms of officials expire on September 30.

In his 68-page memorandum, Macalintal also asked the High Court to issue an order instructing OICs to cease and desist from assuming these positions.

The Palace is expected to appoint OICs for various positions, including regional governor, vice governor, and members of the Legislative Assembly.

He also asked that current Armm officials should be allowed to perform their functions until further ordered by the Court.

Macalintal maintained that the poll postponement -- and its consequent synchronization with the 2013 national and local elections -- violates the constitutional right of the Armm voters to choose their officials.

Postponing the polls "violates Section 18, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, which mandates that the executive department and the legislative assembly of the Armm shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units," he said.

“Vesting the President with the power to appoint the Armm OICs and cancelling the August 8 scheduled elections smacks of the kind of tyrannical government that just two decades ago, former President Corazon Aquino -- the country’s beloved late President and the mother of the country’s current President -- valiantly fought for,” he said.

He also said that the law postponing the Armm elections should be subjected to a plebiscite because it also amended "the RA 9054, the Armm Organic Act or the Armm constitution."

“Even the Solicitor General, in his comment, did not attempt to refute the fact that RA 10153 amended RA 9054. And such amendment is proven by the fact that it cancelled the August 8 polls and synchronized it in 2013; it provided for appointment of OICs; amended the provision on hold-over; and gave additional function to the members of the Armm Regional Assemblymen. Hence, not having been submitted and approved in the said plebiscite, RA 10153 is inoperative and is unconstitutional,” he added.

Macalintal also asked the High Court to direct the Commission on Elections to hold preparations for the Armm election set on a date reasonably close to scheduled polls as provided under Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code.
41) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.1 
Communication Failure  
Sunday, 28. August 2011 23:46  Write a comment

There are three important factors that the author of the article below fails or refuses to acknowledge:

1. Autonomous = Having self-government. Governed not by anyone but by itself.

2. Muslim = An Islam Religion

3. No such thing as Filipino Muslim. Muslims do NOT consider themselves as Filipinos. They are a "nation" of Muslims. An Islam nation.

Muslims in the Philippines do not consider themselves as Filipinos. Passports, licenses, and other forms of Filipino government paper work are just "conveniences". Something to put up with until they (Muslims) acquire their own nation.

Muslims want an autonomy. They want to govern themselves and not by others. This is what the Holy Qur'an mandates. Muslims in the Philippines are just being "tolerant" of the "infidels" until they get their autonomy.

This is not a Religious struggle. This is a political struggle. This struggle for POWER will only suppress the poor and the suffering will continue.
40) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.1 
Miriam Coronel-Ferrer  
Sunday, 28. August 2011 23:10  Write a comment

A comprehensive package for autonomy
By Miriam Coronel-Ferrer
Philippine Daily Inquirer
3:02 am | Monday, August 29th, 2011

Initial reactions to the government’s (GPH) proposal to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were understandably varied. Those who feared the unknown entity that goes by the name of “substate” were relieved that the government’s offer of a new autonomy will stay within the bounds of the Philippine Constitution. Those who wanted bolder measures felt the proposal was inadequate. “Heaven and earth” was how the MILF’s Mohager Iqbal described their draft against ours.

We in the GPH panel say that, indeed, our proposal is firmly grounded on earth. It consciously considered the reality of present-day Mindanao as made up of diverse and complex sociocultural, political and even armed groups, all claiming their rightful share to the land.

It takes into account the system of separation of powers among governmental branches, which even tremendous political capital and a firm political will cannot bypass. It pragmatically sees what are achievable within the time frame of this administration given the realities and, sad to say, the dominance of an unsympathetic majority thinking on the minority population’s claims.

At the same time, the GPH’s “3-for-1” proposal does address the key issues that have driven the Bangsamoro cause in the last 100-plus years. It is not reneging on the President’s commitment—reiterated in his meeting with MILF chief Ebrahim Murad—to find a peaceful solution to the armed conflict in Mindanao.

First of all, the GPH proposal meets the need to acknowledge a distinct identity and history of the Moros as part of the Philippine mosaic. It recognizes their legitimate grievances and provides, where possible, appropriate forms of reconciliation and restorative justice.

The acknowledgement, through symbolic measures like a heroes’ memorial and concrete steps like reviewing history books for misrepresentations of the Bangsamoro, is needed to build mutual respect for religious, historical and cultural differences.

Mutual acceptance and recognition are essential for peaceful coexistence among our peoples sharing one country, one citizenship. The psychic and moral wellbeing derived from this component will give new meaning to the material and institutional approaches.

Secondly, the GPH proposal does not merely offer a choice between economic and political solutions. It recognizes that economic development in the region which hosts the highest school dropout and the lowest longevity rates is needed to reverse the neglect and meet human development goals. Without it, any form of self-governance will not prosper.

Thus, the President has pledged support to a roster of development projects that will employ multiple delivery systems, including the appointed ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) government, LGUs (local government units) and the national line agencies.

To the MILF, the GPH offers a partnership in the form of the proposed Joint Coordinating Committee on Development (JCCD) that will identify and implement socioeconomic projects complementary to the development plan for the region. The JCCD shall be cochaired by the GPH and the Bangsamoro Development Agency.

Political solution

The MILF has said it is no longer asking for independence; neither will it settle for the status quo in the form of the ARMM.

In between independence and autonomy is a spectrum of possible forms of self-governance. Possibilities include a symmetrical federalism where several coequal states are created to form a federal republic pulled together by a federal government. Another is an asymmetrical relationship, such as the MILF’s proposed “substate” which accords a special, semifederal status to one unit.

Then there are multiple other possibilities for regional autonomy within the broad mandate given in the 1987 Constitution. The options certainly exclude the ARMM in its current form, which both parties and everyone else agree, for many reasons, has indeed failed as a vehicle for empowerment.

The GPH panel believes that many elements of the contemplated substate may be introduced within the parameters of regional autonomy, the 1987 Constitution and other existing, progressive domestic and international laws. How so, the parties can further discuss.

Governmental powers

The three core issues up for discussion are governmental powers, natural resources and ancestral domain, and geographic coverage of the autonomy.

On governance, the two parties are of one mind that powers relating to foreign affairs, national defense, postal service, coinage and monetary policies, citizenship and naturalization, global trade and national taxation shall remain with the national government. These reserved powers are in fact already enshrined in the current Organic Act for the ARMM (Republic Act No. 9054).

What remains to be negotiated are the other powers reserved for the national government in the Organic Act which the MILF wants delisted. These include the administration of justice, quarantine, customs and tariff, general auditing, national elections, maritime, land and air transportation and communications, and patents and copyrights.

The pros and cons of delisting and transferring control to a new autonomous government can be resolved on the basis of self-governance principles on the one hand, and good governance standards, national security and the essential check-and-balance needed between the national and regional, on the other hand. Such control and supervisory levers retained by the national government after all are present even in federal systems and do not, unless abused, negate autonomy.

Indeed, creative, collaborative thinking—or the problem-solving approach—can come up with various modes of judicious distribution of powers, or comanagement and other power-sharing schemes. Power-sharing and participatory and representative modalities, by the way, are also relevant issues in defining the relation with the local governments in the area of autonomy and the different sectors—tribes, clans, women, indigenous and settler communities—within this entity.

Ancestral domain

Both parties more or less agree that vested property rights shall be protected even as ancestral domain and agrarian reform claims are duly recognized. Reconciling differing legal as well as customary frameworks on land and resources will be a challenge.

But in the end, the responsibility to integrate these claims into a cohesive legal framework and provide mechanisms to settle disputes will belong to the autonomous government.

The GPH proposal only seeks to ensure that there will be no derogation of rights already granted by the Constitution and existing law to indigenous peoples and other property holders.

The GPH proposal, again, is very open to comanagement and wealth-sharing schemes relating to mineral and energy resources. After all, all other local governments already enjoy such guarantees.

The annexed lists of municipalities and barangays for possible inclusion in the Bangsamoro domain caused much of the opposition to the 2008 memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain.

The GPH proposal foregoes such contentious lists. What it provides are procedures for joining such as through local government resolutions/initiatives (as provided in the Local Government Code) and the mandatory plebiscite.

Transformative approach

In all, the GPH panel is saying that most of the demands of the MILF for self-governance can be accommodated within the present Constitution. By passing a new Organic Act, a more functional, representative and participatory governance institution with many of the features envisioned by the MILF can be incorporated. Coupled with the socioeconomic component, the means and conditions to become truly autonomous are enhanced.

The GPH offer is, therefore, principled and pragmatic. It is transformative rather than “surgical.” While it understands the vision behind the MILF’s proposal for a constitutional amendment that will allow the creation of a Bangsamoro substate whereby they themselves, will craft the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the GPH is saying that this option is not viable at this time.

Still, the GPH offer is another way to get closer to that “heaven” in the Bangsamoro’s dream.
39) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.1 
Monday, 22. August 2011 10:59  Write a comment

GPH presents proposal to MILF
August 22, 2011, 7:05pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel led by Marvin Leonen has submitted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) its proposal for a peace accord during the first day of their formal exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In a statement posted on its website, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), said the GPH panel has submitted to the MILF what it calls its “Eleven Characteristics of the Government Proposal” during the opening of talks Monday.

According to OPAPP, the proposal contains a formula to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in our country and presents a practical and bold approach to create the conditions for meaningful and effective governance through a sustainable partnership that will bring in the needed social services and projects that provide the springboards for sustainable economic development.

“Unlike past administrations, this government is poised to use its massive resources and its theme of good governance for this undertaking,” it said.

The proposal, it added, is also founded on partnership and has the potential to create mutual trust amongst peoples of our country, heal the wounds of conflict, mobilize and capacitate Bangsamoro leaders and therefore increase understanding among all Filipinos of every ascribed identity. It is a partnership that will therefore set the stage for more enlightened political discussion amongst all parties. This discussion, in turn, will effectively point the way to the realization legal reforms that may be truly necessary.

The proposal, OPAPP said, is also politically comprehensive and contains ideas for reforming the relationship between national and regional government.

But, it also meets the challenge of finding viable mechanisms that increase the possibility for finding convergence of programs among all those who claim to represent the Bangsamoro, Christian settlers and indigenous peoples within the conflict-affected areas. The reform of political relations takes into account the realities of socio-economic underdevelopment, demographic shifts and diversity across communities.
38) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.1 
Monday, 22. August 2011 10:35  Write a comment

Transfer of ARMM seat pushed
August 5, 2011, 3:53pm
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The governance of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is now bent finally on transferring its regional seat to Parang, Maguindanao from this city – its temporary seat for the past 20 years.

ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo said the ARMM’s Regional Planning and Development Office has been directed to chart the requirements and mechanisms for the development of a prospected site in Parang, a coastal town hosting the Polloc Freeport and the Regional Police Office headquarters.

The ARMM’s Regional Legislative Assembly passed in 1995 an edict fixing the permanent seat of the autonomous governance in such progressive town, but past regional leaderships failed to carry out the mandate for varied reasons ranging from lack of funds to political compromises.

Sinarimbo said the administration of ARMM acting Gov. Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong pushed for the realization of the 20-year-old plan after the Sarmiento family has donated part of its 300-hectare land in Parang to accommodate the new regional government center.

“It’s not a far-fetched idea to transfer the regional center to where the regional government has total control and leeway for improvements because Republic Act 9054 calls for ARMM to have its permanent seat,” Sinarimbo said.

This city, the provisional seat of the ARMM, remains part of Region-12 after majority of its residents rejected twice its inclusion in the autonomous area in separate plebiscites.

The current regional complex has been inherited by the ARMM from the defunct autonomous regions established under the Marcos administration.

Sinarimbo said their administration’s thrust is “to put together the administrative center of ARMM, the international seaport which is already in place at the Polloc Freeport in Parang, as well as an international airport which will connect ARMM with other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries.”

He said their perspective of the proposed ARMM seat has been inspired by Malaysia in shifting its government center to the vast district of Putrajaya in Kuala Lumpur.

He said the absence of a bigger airport to accommodate international flights in the ARMM hampers international and domestic connectivity of the autonomous region, adding that the existing Awang Domestic Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, could no longer expand its runway.

Sinarimbo’s disclosure of the transfer plan was triggered by questions from the media on their reaction to the persistent opposition of the present city government leadership to physical facelifts along the Gutierrez Avenue, an access road donated to the ARMM’s predecessor and has long been maintained by the regional government.

City Mayor Japal Guiani Jr. and his sister City Administrator Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi had sounded off verbally and in writing their objection to the putting in place of ground-fixed concrete flower vases, saying that crime-prone individuals may place explosives on such structures to “harm VIPs visiting the ARMM.”

Sinarimbo and other ARMM officials laughed off the argument, citing hundreds of even bigger flower vases mushrooming along the highways of Malaysia including a street leading to a huge building where the 56-nation Organization of Islamic Conference once held a ministerial meet.
37) IP logged  Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.6; en-US; rv: Ge 
Carolyn O. Arguillas  
Minda News
Tuesday, 2. August 2011 10:35  Write a comment

ARMM caretakers “must be ghostbusters”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/31 July) – “Ghostbusters!”

The officers in charge (OICs) who will be appointed by President Benigno Simeon Aquino to administer the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) from September 30, 2011 to June 30, 2013 must be “ghostbusters” as they need to bust ghost teachers, ghost schools, ghost towns, Fr. Eliseo Mercado, Jr., executive director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance, said.

“What you need as OICs actually are ghostbusters” to put an end to “ghost bridges, ghost schools, ghost teachers, ghost employees, ghost governance,” Mercado said. The use of public funds for ghost projects has been a common complaint against the 21-year old regional government.
Mercado told a roundtable discussion on the “Roadmap for Reforms in the ARMM” organized by IAG at the AIM Conference Center in Makati City afternoon of July 28, that what should be communicated by the caretaker administration is that it will no longer be “business as usual” in the ARMM.

“If it will be business as usual, you are sending the wrong message,” he said.

Borrowing from President Aquino’s use of “wangwang” to describe abuse of power, Mercado the OICs should ensure there will be “no wangwang in governance.”

He said the OICs “must adopt a new work ethics.” Leadership, he added, must be by stewardship and not by entitlement, that perks of public offices and public representation be done away with and that the caretakers must focus on improving the human development indicators in the ARMM.

Among the incumbent ARMM officials, Mercado cited Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo who “reports in his office by 8:30 or 9 o clock everyday,” does his work and visits projects.
ARMM Vice Governor Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong assumed the post of OIC Governor in mid-December 2009, following the detention of Governor Zaldy Ampatuan who is one of the principal suspects in the November 23, 2009 massacre of 58 persons in Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

Sinarimbo has been the face of the ARMM since. Like his predecessor governors, Alonto, who is from Lanao del Sur, is rarely seen at the ARMM regional office in Cotabato City.

Mercado said the OICs must ensure that “farm to market roads” are, indeed, farm to market roads. “No more roads to my farms,” he said.

The OICs must also tend to the peace and security of the citizens, “not (just) my security and my peace,” referring to the use of policemen as escorts of public officials when they should be doing police work in their communities.

He said a number of things “can be done in the first 100 days and can go very far, something similar to ‘no more wangwang, no more counteflow.’ This time now no wangwang in governance.”

President Aquino in his State of the Nation Address on July 25, was silent on the peace process, Reproductive Health Bill and Freedom of Information Act, but gave four paragraphs out of his 95-paragraph speech, to talk about the ARMM.

He said the Commision on Audit found that from January 2008 to September 2009, 80% of the disbursements in the Office of the Regional Governor of the ARMM went to cash advances without proper documentation.

“Kung hindi nawala ang pondong ito, nakatapos na sana ang isang batang tumawid sa ghost bridge, para pumasok sa ghost school, kung saan tuturuan siya ng ghost teacher. Kaawa awang bata. Walang humpay na paghihirap, at walang pag-asa ng pag-asenso,” he said.

The President meant, in English, that if the funds had been used properly, these could have been used for the education of children in the ARMM. Instead, the money went to corruption, as exemplified by ghost bridges, ghost schools and ghost teachers. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

36) IP logged  Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.6; en-US; rv: Ge 
Christine O. Avendaño  
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Tuesday, 2. August 2011 09:44  Write a comment

ARMM OICs short list coming soon
By Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer

By next month, President Benigno Aquino III should have some people in mind to serve as officers in charge (OICs) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for two years or until the May 2013 elections.

This after Mr. Aquino signed an executive order creating the body that would screen candidates for the elective posts to be vacated this month in the ARMM. The body will make its recommendations to the President.

The positions to be filled with appointees are that of regional governor and vice governor as well as members of the regional legislative council.

Under Executive Order No. 51 which Mr. Aquino signed on July 28, the screening body would have as members the secretaries of the interior and national defense, the presidential political adviser, a civil society representative to be appointed by the President, and one representative to be nominated from among and by the five governors and one city mayor in the ARMM.

The EO mandates the screening committee to submit to the President a short list of three nominees for every position “within 30 days from convening but not later than 10 days before Sept. 30.”

The body will have to consult with the Senate President and Speaker of the House before submitting the names to the President.

Among the qualifications the committee will be looking for are “education preparation, experience, performance, accomplishments, reputation for honesty, integrity, incorruptibility, irreproachable conduct, and fidelity to sound moral and ethical standards.”

“No person shall be recommended as OIC unless he/she possesses the qualifications required by Republic Act No. 6734 (An Act Providing for an Organic Act for ARMM) and RA 9054 (An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for ARMM),” the EO states.

The President signed into law on June 31 the congressional measure resetting the ARMM polls originally scheduled for Aug. 8 to the second Monday of May 2013 to synchronize it with the midterm nationwide election.

35) IP logged  Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.6; en-US; rv: Ge 
Tuesday, 26. July 2011 06:06  Write a comment

PNoy: ARMM to have good governance due to poll postponement

July 25, 2011

President Benigno Aquino III on Monday vowed good governance in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) after polls in the region were postponed to 2013 through a legislation he backed.

"Gusto nating maranasan ng ARMM ng benepisyo ng tamang pamamaha. Kaya ang solusyon: synchronization," Aquino said in his second State of the Nation Address before a joint session of Congress.

Aquino said Republic Act 10153, which he signed last July 30, will ensure clean and fair elections in the area two years from now.

"Dahil dito... magiging mas patas ang labanan at lalabnaw ang command votes. Salamat sa Kongreso at naipasa na ang batas na magsasabay ng halalan sa ARMM sa halalang pambansa," he said.

He added that the postponement of the ARMM polls, originally scheduled next month, will put a stop to patronage politics and corruption in the area.

"Sa kagustuhang makabalik sa puwesto, nakahanda ang ilan na ulitin ang nakagawian para manalo. Isipin na lang po ninyo kung pumayag tayo sa kagustuhan ng mga kontra, at itinuloy natin ang eleksyon. Wala po silang ibang gagawin sa loob ng dalawang taon kundi paghandaan ang susunod na halalan at isiksik ang kalokohan nila sa mas maigsing panahon," he said.

The constitutionality of RA 10153 is being questioned before the Supreme Court. — Andreo Calonzo/RSJ, GMA News
34) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.1 
Monday, 18. July 2011 11:53  Write a comment

Korean shipping firm to invest in ARMM, Malaysia


COTABATO CITY, July 17, (PNA) -- A Korean businessman has expressed willingness to pour in investments in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), particularly business linkages between ARMM and Sabah, Malaysia, the ARMM bureau of public information said on Thursday.

ARMM-BPI chief Ali Macabalang said that Jerry Hong, director of CH Construction Co. based in Seoul, South Korea, visited the ARMM executive office here early this week and met with local officials.

"He is very willing to establish a regular sea route for a vessel that will service Sandakan, Sabah to the Polloc Freeport in Maguindanao with a stop over in Zamboanga City," Macabalang said.

Hong told ARMM officials that his company could provide a larger vessel to meet the demands of merchants trading in the area.

He said his company planned to launch a vessel that has a gross registered tonnage (GRT) of 5,000 - around 10 times over the capacity of the current vessel plying the Sandakan-Zamboanga City route.

Hong assured ARMM officials that their vessel is "bigger, safer and more comfortable."

The Korean businessman also met with ARMM executive secretary Naguib Sinarimbo, Polloc Freeport manager Moharrim Mohammad and Regional Economic Zone Authority (REZA) executive director Rosslaini Alonto-Sinarimbo, to present his proposition.

Macabalang said Hong’s company apparently saw an opportunity for business in April this year when an 18-year old wooden-hulled boat, with limited tonnage, was chartered by the ARMM government from the region for a maiden trade voyage to Sandakan.

It was aimed at reviving the century-old trading between Sabah and Mindanao, especially in the provinces now comprising the ARMM.

Sinarimbo said the route was right within the heart of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and would make Hong’s company a step ahead of the competition.

Sinarimbo saw Hong's proposal as mutually beneficial to ARMM people and the Korean firm.

Sinarimbo assured Hong that the Polloc Freeport had the potentials not seen in other free ports in the country, being strategically located in Central Mindanao and a typhoon-free harbor.

If plans push through, Hong said his company's vessel would cruise the Sabah-ARMM-Zamboanga route four times a week. (PNA)
33) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.1 
Sunday, 17. July 2011 17:55  Write a comment

Zaldy’s gambit

By: Randy David
Philippine Daily Inquirer
11:31 pm | Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Almost two years after his arrest in connection with the Maguindanao massacre, detained former ARMM governor Zaldy Ampatuan has yet to be arraigned. This means that the case against him, unlike that of his father and brother, has hardly begun. His biggest wish is to be taken off the list of the accused before he is formally indicted. That is his objective. All the talk about him offering to turn state witness so he might testify against his own relatives is a presumption made by others. His statements to media are neither here nor there. The only explicit thing he has said is that he had nothing to do with the crime.

Gambit is a term used in chess to refer to a move where a piece, usually a pawn, is sacrificed in anticipation of a future advantage. This is exactly how we may think of Zaldy’s sudden need to tell what he knows, not only of the Maguindanao massacre but of the many other ways his family colluded with the Arroyos in illicit ventures like poll fraud and bloated public works projects.

Zaldy’s gambit, however, has not entailed much of a sacrifice. What he has said so far about the gruesome events of November 2009 is of little value to the prosecution. Other than to assert that he does not care who gets hit by the information he said he would divulge, he sheds no new light on the case. Indeed, he blames his kin for the dire situation in which he finds himself, and claims that he has initiated legal action to drop the Ampatuan name from the surnames of his children. Yet he has not said anything that may even remotely reinforce the case against his father or brother. He has only reiterated his innocence, insisting that he was not present at any meeting to plan the ambush. How can anyone even think that he would make a suitable state witness?

Clearly, his wish to be taken out of the charge sheet is the sole motive driving Zaldy’s unexpected offer to talk about the secrets of the Maguindanao empire that his notorious father once headed. Because of his relatively more polished demeanor and better education, many people see him as the least guilty among the Ampatuans. Zaldy exploits this image in order to project the view that a modern politician like him cannot possibly be so stupid as to participate in the planning of something so crude and barbaric as the Maguindanao massacre. This view is not entirely implausible. I have heard it mentioned a few times by well-informed people in Mindanao.

Zaldy’s problem is how to prove he is innocent, given that a witness has already said that he was present at the meeting where his father, Andal Sr., gave the order to kill the entire Mangudadatu convoy. He would have to say he was a passive and unwilling participant or, better that he opposed the plan, in which case he would have to pin down Andal Sr. and Andal Jr. as the masterminds. I don’t believe this is the line he wants to pursue. Still, the government has been attentive, but it is far from taking the bait.

And so, Zaldy offers another gambit. Though not related to the Maguindanao massacre, this one is no less captivating. It comes in the person of Lintang Bedol, the fugitive former election supervisor of Maguindanao province. Zaldy says that Bedol holds the key to how the Maguindanao election returns in the midterm election of 2007 were falsified in order to produce a 12-0 win for the Arroyo administration’s senatorial candidates. Bedol supposedly was instructed by Andal Sr. who was allegedly ordered by Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, husband of the former president, to doctor the results. This story is not new, but hard evidence to prove it has remained scarce. Bedol, who is believed to have kept the genuine returns, was arrested in 2007 for refusing to appear before the Commission on Elections. He posted bail and promptly disappeared, like his mentor Virgilio Garcillano, who went into hiding after the 2004 presidential election.

But, the other day, as if on cue, the elusive Bedol came out of hiding. In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News’ Anthony Taberna, who first broke the Zaldy Ampatuan story, Bedol confirms nearly every sentence in Zaldy’s account. But talk is not enough; the public wants solid proof. Does Bedol or Zaldy have the real election returns? This is a matter of particular urgency to Koko Pimentel who, for the last four years, has been trying to recover the votes taken from him in places like Maguindanao. He has to persuade the Senate Electoral Tribunal that the senator who sits among them as the winner of the 12th senatorial slot in 2007, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, stole the seat that rightfully belongs to him.

Bedol is clearly an Ampatuan man. But like Zaldy, he has not said or shown anything that can stand up in court. For the kind of positional advantage they seek, Zaldy risks little and offers nothing significant. Is there more?

It would be foolish for the government to engage Zaldy on his own terms. Harry Roque, one of the private lawyers for the relatives of the Maguindanao massacre victims, hit the nail on the head when he said: “Zaldy is the most dangerous of the Ampatuans because he not only has a gun but also a brain.” To release him from detention now, even if only provisionally, is to risk allowing the Ampatuan clan, which has ruled Maguindanao for decades, to recover its wealth and use this to regain its power. It will not only deter witnesses from testifying against them, it will also turn the clock back for democracy in that part of the country.
32) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.1 
Friday, 8. July 2011 13:06  Write a comment

Government urges Moro rebels to support reforms in ARMM


MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair Marvic Leonen urged today the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to support the reforms in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) that are being pushed by the Aquino administration.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III recently signed into law the bill synchronizing the ARMM elections to the national polls in May 2013, thereby providing opportunities for the government to exercise its reform agenda in the region.

"The government is very much committed to implement reforms in the ARMM," Leonen said, emphasizing the urgent need of the constituencies for economic development and good governance.

Leonen said, "While peace talks are proceeding in earnest, the government will take every opportunity to address the problems that the people of Muslim Mindanao encounter."

The panel chief added that it is up to the MILF if it wants to stand in the sidelines. "But, we will be very disappointed if you choose to be an obstacle to these reforms," he stated.

Leonen emphasized the sincerity of the government in bringing just and lasting peace in Mindanao. "We are not the previous administration. Studying the historical injustices of the past has made us aware and conscious not to repeat the same mistakes," he said.

Included in the reform agenda of the Aquino administration are: a full audit of ARMM expenditures; addressing the vulnerabilities for corruption; capacitating local governments to address the concerns of their constituents; and economic development to benefit the people of Mindanao.
31) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.1 
Jeoffrey Maitem  
Monday, 4. July 2011 10:34  Write a comment

July 4, 2011

MILF man vows transparency, gun regulation if tapped as ARMM’s OIC

COTABATO City, Philippines—A former spokesman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said on Saturday he would follow President Aquino’s “daang matuwid” (the straight path), strictly observing standards of transparency and regulating firearms, if he is appointed officer in charge of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Aquino, who signed into law Republic Act No. 10153, which reset the ARMM elections from August 8, 2011, to the second Monday of May 2013, and synchronized it with the next national and local elections, said the incoming officer must have a time-bound plan for implementing reforms in the region.

“I will follow President Aquino’s straight path. All affairs of the ARMM must be in accordance with transparency. I will also look into power sharing,” former MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.

“I will regulate loose firearms. That’s one of my priorities. I will respond to that and I am confident we can generate support from local officials,” Kabalu added.

Kabalu said the public would have nothing to worry about the thousands of firearms his organization possessed as the disposition of the guns would be settled later on in the peace talks.

“It will be the last item that panels will talk about in the talks,” Kabalu said.

At the same time, Kabalu said he would regulate the firearms of politicians in the south, including their private armies.

“We only need intense dialogue with local officials. Hopefully, if we are already appointed, in six months we can generate and return firearms to the government,” Kabalu said.

“I have already the formula in doing these things,” he stressed.

Kabalu also promised to help neutralize Ameril Umbra Kato, a Muslim rebel commander blamed for the 2008 atrocities in the region.

Kato, who has formed another armed group, attacked civilian communities in 2008 after the peace talks between the government and the MILF collapsed in August of that year when the Supreme Court stopped the signing of a deal that would have paved the way for the setting up of a semi-independent Bangsamoro state.

“In my plan, of course I will engage the participation of local officials and the people themselves. I can’t do this alone,” he said.

By Jeoffrey Maitem
Inquirer Mindanao
30) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.1 
US News  
Sunday, 3. July 2011 17:09  Write a comment

July 3, 2011

The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have agreed to develop a “workable partnership at appropriate levels” to pursue reforms in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The Ad Hoc High-Level (AHHL) Group of the two parties met in Indonesia on June 20-22 under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Conference-Peace Committee on Southern Philippines (OIC-PCSP) to discuss unresolved issues regarding the implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles led the GPH delegation, while Prof. Nur Misuari headed the MNLF contingent. Indonesian Ambassador Rezlan I. Jenie, OIC-PCSP chair, presided the meeting.

According to the report of the GPH-MNLF Technical Committee, “The Parties, recognizing the possibilities for reform in light of the postponement of the ARMM elections believe that they should avail of the opportunity and use the period to work together with concerned stakeholders to capacitate the ARMM as a complementary mechanism for the full implementation of the 1996 GPH-OIC-MNLF Final Peace Agreement (FPA).”

The report likewise stated that both parties have agreed to effect the following: facilitate participation of the MNLF in the ARMM governance reforms; hasten the completion of the drafting of a bill to amend Republic Act 9054, the Organic Act of ARMM, to comply with the FPA; complete the devolution of National Agencies to the ARMM in accordance with R.A. 9054; facilitate the implementation of the provisions on representation in the National Government and in all Organs of the State; improve capacity of ARMM to ensure delivery of basic services to the ARMM’s constituents; and improve the peace and order condition on the ground and protect human rights, among others.

During the meeting, the GPH and the MNLF were also able to reach a “consensus on strategic minerals,” which is one of the pertinent issues. These include an interim co-management arrangement on approval of permits, and monitoring of compliance to the contracts, among others.

Unresolved issues, said the report, will be discussed by the GPH, MNLF and OIC-PCSP on or before September 30.

No longer a negotiation

Deles said that the peace process with the MNLF is no longer a negotiation, but a conversation about completing the implementation of the 1996 FPA. The OIC-PCSP has been facilitating the discussions between the two parties.

“The primary purpose of the Tripartite Process with the OIC and MNLF is to monitor and ensure full implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement. It does not in any instance reopen negotiations which were completed in 1996 as clearly expressed in the Totality Clause of the FPA,” she stated.

The peace adviser added that the reform process in the ARMM will provide prospects for collaborative efforts.

“The Aquino administration’s program of reforms in the region creates opportunities for all good intentioned stakeholders to work with both national government and LGUs (local government units) in enhancing the capacity of the ARMM to provide basic public services through good governance,” she said.

Deles also noted that the reform process “will engage the multiple participation of all relevant stakeholders.”

“We are pleased that the MNLF, as signatory to the FPA, has agreed to partner with government in this very difficult process,” she said.
29) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.0 
Friday, 1. July 2011 14:58  Write a comment

July 1, 2011

Moro groups slam postponement of ARMM elections" - “Saying that the ARMM needs reform and (that these) can only be done when Aquino appoints an OIC [officer-in-charge] is an act of chauvinism by Aquino against the Moro people and the constituents of ARMM".

While the Aquino government justified the postponement of the elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with promises of reform, this is not being viewed positively by some sectors of the Bangsamoro people. In fact, some view this as an affront.

“Saying that the ARMM needs reform and (that these) can only be done when Aquino appoints an OIC [officer-in-charge] is an act of chauvinism by Aquino against the Moro people and the constituents of ARMM,” Ba Ali Indayla, secretary-general of KAWAGIB, told She added that “with these, Aquino already took away the right to suffrage of the people living within the ARMM. Even the smallest democratic space was taken away from the people. Democracy dies as Aquino pays back his political allies by appointing them.”

As it is, Republic Act 9054 An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 6734, Entitled “An Act Providing for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” as amended, is already being deemed as sorely lacking in terms of providing the Bangsamoro people their right to self-determination.

The RA 9054 is “in stark contrast to the form of autonomy demanded by the Moro people,” Muslimin Sema, chair of a faction of MNLF, reportedly told MindaNews while in an ARMM Peace Summit in Mindanao last September.

Nevertheless, the reform being promised by the Aquino government is being viewed with suspicion.“Pro-postponement groups said it [postponement of elections] will give way for amendments to RA 9054 when there will be signed agreements [between the Philippine government and the MILF],” Indayla said.

But despite government and MILF hopes, “there is no assurance that an agreement will be signed this early,” Indayla told, explaining that “peace negotiation is a long process,” and “there is still questions on the sincerity of the government since they have not released the political detainees of MILF.” The MILF had asked the Aquino government, last December, to completely stop the arrests of MILF leaders and men and to free political detainees, including the 25 MILF members, to raise the confidence in the peace negotiations.

Indayla of KAWAGIB noted that MILF front commanders have not issued categorical statements yet about their views on the postponement of ARMM elections. But in Kawagib’s talks with some of them, Indayla was told that “they don’t favor the postponement.”

The Healing Democracy Group, an election watchdog composed of Muslim-Christian advocates calling for electoral reforms in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is chafing at the way the Aquino government has treated the MILF and the MNLF in the election postponement issue.

“To categorize the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front as mere ‘stakeholders’ of the ARMM, who were consulted regarding the postponement, is limiting the supposed role of the MILF and the MNLF,” said Amirah Lidasan, representative of Healing Democracy Project in Maguindanao, during a public consultation held in Cotabato City by the House Committee on Suffrage and Muslim Affairs last March. Lidasan clarified that the two fronts are “revolutionaries, they are supposed to lead and are actually now at the forefront of the Bangsamoro struggle, whose representation goes beyond the ARMM and whose politics cannot be limited within the ARMM.”

The postponement may have also caused rifts. The MILF reportedly removed Eid Kabalu – who said he resigned – as its spokesperson after he announced his desire to become officer-in-charge (OIC) of ARMM in the event the scheduled elections were postponed.

The electoral system in the Philippines has historically been adjudged as not exactly a level playing field. “The right to suffrage of the people is not complete. The right to be elected is reserved to an elite group of rich people with guns, goons and gold,” said Amirah Ali Lidasan.

Particularly “In the ARMM, the elected officials are often appointed (or anointed) by the ruling administration and they usually come from the same political party.” But “that small space of democracy is further reduced with the process of appointment, which reserves the selection of nominees for officers-in-charge of ARMM to the same elite people who are close to the incumbent president,” Lidasan explained.

Added to this, the Aquino government’s law seeking to synchronize the ARMM elections with the 2013 elections has unleashed “debasing comments about the people in the ARMM”, Lidasan complained.

“We were a ‘failed experiment,’ poor and corrupt, and a host of most biased comments for a region that has delivered block votes for national politicians and enriched the national government with its still unexploited natural resources,” Lidasan said during the public consultation in Cotabato city conducted by a committee of the Lower House. She asked how the Moro people within the ARMM can freely determine their future “when their governance is controlled by Malacañang.”

“To leave the ARMM configuration open to whatever may ensue from the peace process with both the MILF and MNLF will only reveal the government’s lack of sincerity in addressing historical injustices to the Moro people,” wrote Alber Husin, a professor on leave from the Department of Social Sciences, School of Liberal Arts at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University.

After all, the “ARMM is the most tangible element of Bangsamoro Self-Determination within the framework of the Philippine Constitution. It must be strengthened as part of the peace process with the Bangsamoro people,” Husin said. Reforming the ARMM, he argued, should thus be done in a process that upholds democratic principles and the rule of law.

To tinker now with what’s already defined by law smacks of the Aquino government’s contempt for what the Bangsamoro people has accomplished, he said. “The 1996 GRP-MNLF Final peace agreement was not implemented accordingly, while we cannot be sure that the GRP-MILF peace process will come to an end before the elections in 2013,” Husin said. He concluded that it is against common sense to hold the existing ARMM structures hostage to the ambiguities of peace negotiations “since the ARMM itself is a fruit of the Moro struggle and a previous peace process with the same government.”

Lidasan reminded a public hearing on the proposal to postpone elections about “what the national government did with the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement, which until now the MNLF is still crying foul about as the government continues to stall its full implementation.” Lidasan further reminded the public of “the consequences of the government’s move to discredit the GRP-MILF talks on Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in 2008.” She said these are “reminders that the national government will never give the Moro people control over their resources.”
28) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.0 
Wednesday, 29. June 2011 12:20  Write a comment

Noy: ARMM folk aren't mature enough to vote

June 30, 2011
SIGNING TODAY: The signing today by President Noynoy Aquino of the bill postponing the election in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is expected to trigger a flurry of objections, including a petition for the Supreme Court to strike it down.

The groups and individuals opposing the move to synchronize the ARMM polls, set by law this August, with the 2013 election and for the President to just appoint officials to serve until 2013 point out that:

1. The synchronized election law (RA 7166) being invoked by the administration applies only to the president, vice president, senators, congressmen, provincial, city and municipal elective officials — not to regional elective officials such as those in the ARMM.

2. Appointing ARMM officials is illegal because under the region’s charter they are to be elected, not appointed. The President cannot arbitrarily substitute his wishes for the will of the electorate.

JUSTIFICATION: In justifying the suspension of elections, President Aquino said that the voters’ lists in the region are not reliable, also implying that many voters there may not be mature enough for responsible citizenship.

(Incidentally, Mr. Aquino won in the ARMM in the 2010 presidential elections.)

He also said that corruption and maladministration have marked governance in the area, raising the need for reforms before the voters are allowed suffrage.

But if those reasons are valid, elections in other regions should be similarly postponed since those places are plagued by the same problems of unreliable registries, corruption and immature voters.
27) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.0 
Tuesday, 28. June 2011 14:09  Write a comment

Palace assures Aquino to sign Armm bill on June 30, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

MALACAÑANG on Tuesday guaranteed that President Benigno Aquino III will sign into law the proposed bill, which seeks to defer the August 8 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) on June 30.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda assured that the signing will happen on the end of the month, as the President is also expected to issue a statement on his first year in office.

He stressed that the lawmakers responsible for the passage of the bill will be present during the signing ceremony.

“On the 30th of June, I can guarantee you that there will be a signing of the Armm postponement bill… those who were responsible in shepherding the bill will be there, the heads of both Houses and also Senator Frank Drilon who authored the senate version the bill in Senate will also be there,” Lacierda said.

Aquino earlier said that the signing of the proposed measure is being delayed because he wanted all authors to witness the ceremonial signing.

The measure, which has been recently ratified by both Houses of Congress, aims to synchronize the Armm elections with the May 2013 national midterm elections.

It also empowers the President to appoint officers-in-charge in the Armm government to implement reforms until new officials are elected in May. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)
26) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.0 
Monday, 27. June 2011 07:59  Write a comment

June 27, 2011

Philippines Local Disputes Complicate Peace Talks with Separatists


This week the Philippines government resumes peace talks with the country’s main Islamic separatist group. Formal negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have been occurring since 1997, although they break down repeatedly without major breakthroughs. But government negotiators say they are hopeful that a new approach that addresses land disputes, voting districts and other local issues could help produce an agreement to end the separatist rebellion. The effort to mediate the long-running clan feuds is called "rido".

For the last eight years, independent mediator Abel Moya has kept the peace in a generations-old fight over 24 hectares of fertile land in a western Mindanao province. The Oliveros family and a group of nine other clans both claim to own the disputed coconut grove, but now they want the government to buy it so they can split the proceeds and move on.

“They told us they want to set free the land," Moya said. "They want to let go of the land because it only reminds them of death, ambuscades and other things.”

The families’ violent dispute over the grove goes back nearly 40 years. In the year 2000, their blood feud erupted in a much bigger conflict that drew in government soldiers, engulfing much of Mindanao in violence.

"Rido" is a generations-old method of settling scores between opposing families or even within family units. The retaliatory fighting can involve thousands of people because the families involved are clans, which include not just parents and children but also their many cousins and other relatives.

Moya says one side in the coconut farm conflict happens to be Muslim and the other, Christian. Some on the Muslim side are also members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, while some on the Christian side are with the Philippine military.

“So they have dual personalities when they shoot at each other as a member of the MILF and the other as an Armed Forces of the Philippines, it becomes another layer, which we call an institutional war," Moya said. "It’s not just simply protecting who harvests it."

Because military and rebels were involved, the government declared “total war” on the region’s Muslim separatists during a three-month period in 2000. Three thousand people died and hundreds of thousands of residents were displaced.

Blood feuds over land disputes, power or simply preserving one’s “good name” are not uncommon in the Muslim Mindanao region. These feuds play out in rebel country where separatists and the military regularly clash and where weapons are easily accessible.

As a longtime peace negotiator in Mindanao, Moya has firsthand experience of how these disputes over land and other local issues affect peace negotiations between the MILF and the Philippine government. A major component of the Muslims’ push for self-determination is for their lands to be recognized as their own.

Anthropologist Francisco Lara says it is critical for the government to have an acute understanding of how these peace talks play out in local politics.

“The Philippine government is negotiating with the MILF and part of that outcome can be an expansion in the size of the autonomous region," Lara said. "So you will find some clans being afraid about the loss of their vote banks if their districts are apportioned to another town or to another province. This will lead to some concerns and, of course, recourse to violence to make sure that those towns don’t vote to be part of another province. That’s how the link happens.”

The issue of clan violence historically has not been a major factor in government peace talks with separatists. But in 2007, a report by the Asia Foundation that tracked blood feuds in the southern Philippines going back some 75 years found that the violence between clans was driving much of the separatist violence.

The administration of President Benigno Aquino says the government is responding and putting an emphasis on addressing rido disputes.

The government’s top negotiator Marvic Leonen says his office tracks rido incidents in Muslim Mindanao on a weekly basis to try to predict when flare-ups will occur. He also says some Philippine military units are being trained how to intervene in violent clan disputes.

“We take the solution of the rido problem -- generally and specifically for each conflict -- very seriously," Leonen said. "And, as a matter of fact we think that it will also figure out in terms of the final political settlement.”

Leonen says land disputes especially among factions of Muslim separatists are more prevalent than government-versus-separatist clashes. He says both parties in the national negotiation process recognize a need to provide security and a functioning judicial system for every citizen in the conflict area.

“And then also we have to look at the delivery of justice," Leonen said. "Much of the rido is because of unredressed grievances and of course in an area where there has been a failure of governmental support, then it is so easy to just pick up a gun and settle the problem yourself.”

There are some who remain skeptical that the government can handle the issue. Fatmawati Salapuddin has been mediating for more than 20 years between feuding clans in her southwestern island province of Sulu. She says the blood feuds are now part of the region’s political process.

She says more often than not, elections actually contribute to rido in the region.

“What I can say about rido that emanates from the electoral process is that it is a challenge on how we can conduct elections with people who are responsibly looking at not just trying to get power out of it but doing governance," Salapuddin said. "Well you see, people run for elections because of the power and the resources that they get … not because they know how to govern.”

Salapuddin says even government agencies, such as land titling offices, that could help sort out some of the conflicts, are intimidated by local leaders. She says the region, which is geographically remote from the central government, has basically been left to its own devices.

“National government does not involve itself in the rido. There is no system really, of how to resolve it, how to place it in the entire system,” Salapuddin said.

She says despite the government’s pledges to do more to solve these local disputes, she has doubts that the issue will be substantively addressed in national level peace talks.
25) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.0 
Sunday, 26. June 2011 11:09  Write a comment

Pimentel to challenge postponement of ARMM polls before Supreme Court
Saturday, 25 June 2011 12:33

Former Senate President Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr. on Thursday vowed to challenge before the Supreme Court (SC) the bill postponing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections once it is signed into law.

"I am from Mindanao and a good number of Muslim leaders have asked me to help them. [We will be challenging this] for the Moro people," Pimentel said during the weekly forum at the Senate.

Pimentel, who was also the principal author of the ARMM Organic Law, explained that postponing the ARMM polls originally scheduled for August 8 this year and synchronizing it with the 2013 midterm elections would be encroaching on the autonomy of the region.

"The basic argument is that the postponement violates the character and soul of the autonomy that has been granted to the autonomous region," he said.

"For Malacañang to say that they will determine when the election should be [held], in effect Malacañang is depriving the people to express their will through elections as mandated by the law," he added.

Pimentel, who served as Senate president from November 2000 to June 2001, said they will also challenge the President's right to appoint officers-in-charge for the 26 soon-to-be vacated seats in the region.

"The appointment of OICs cuts to the very heart of the right of the peple to elect their leaders," he said, adding that incumbent officials were previously allowed to stay when the ARMM polls were postponed in the past.

Malacañang, meanwhile, is confident that the SC will uphold the ARMM poll postponement law.

"Our position is defensible before the Supreme Court. ARMM elections have been postponed before. The appointment of OICs is covered by the residual powers of the President," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a text message Thursday.

In a separate text message, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Aquino administration can defend the law if called to do so.

"In the same way that we were optimistic that the bill would pass both Houses so that the work of reform in ARMM may start the soonest," she said.

Earlier, President Benigno Aquino III said that he will sign the bill seeking to postpone the ARMM elections on June 30, which will also mark his first year in office.

Pimentel, however, said that the Palace is deliberately delaying its approval. "It is a deliberate ploy on the part of Malacañang to diminish the possibility of the bills being challenged in the SC," he said.

But he said that he and his companions are not "dismayed" by this because they are hopeful that the SC will "see through" their arguments. — GMA News
24) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.0 
Thursday, 9. June 2011 08:32  Write a comment


COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Hundreds of employees of government agencies in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) held a rally here Thursday in protest of the inclusion of the ARMM funds in the Court of Appeal’s (CA’s) freeze order on assets of the Ampatuan clan.

The protesters, mostly complaining about non-release of their salaries and benefits as a result of the court’s freeze order, staged a picket in front of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) branch on Magallanes Street here.

“Imperial Manila committed a blunder against the innocent and hapless people of ARMM, this time in pursuit of its plunder case against the Ampatuans,” Raymundo Pelaez, president of the ARMM Employees Association, said.

Pelaez said the “unjust freezing” of government funds coursed through the LBP account of the ARMM’s Office of the Regional Governor (ORG) has aggravated the “deprivation of the regional electorate’s right of suffrage” wrought by the congressional approval of Malacañang-sponsored bill to postpone the August 8, 2011 ARMM polls and install officers-in-charge (OICs).

The number of protesters, estimated by the local media at more than 500, was expected to increase in three folds because the freeze order also covered the official bank accounts of the provincial government and electric cooperative in Maguindanao.

ARMM alone has more than 30,000 civil servants, including 22,000 public school teachers whose salaries and benefits are derived from the funds in the official ORG depository account with the local LBP branch here, protesting budget and finance officials said.

Sources said about P1 billion in government funds downloaded this month to the ORG account for the entire machineries of the autonomous regional government has been affected by the CA order promulgated on June 6 by its
Special Second Division, freezing billions of pesos worth of assets of the Ampatuan political clan.

The freeze order covers 743 bank accounts, 132 motor vehicles, 113 houses, and lots and 140 firearms believed owned or associated with the Ampatuans.

In a 23-page resolution dated June 6, 2011, the appellate court’s Second Division directed 28 banks, the Philippine National Police-Firearms and Explosives Office, Land Transportation Office, and the Registers of Deed of Davao City, Maguindanao province, and Cotabato City to immediately freeze the assets of the entire Ampatuan clan and their alleged conduits.

The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo and was concurred in by Associate Justices Bienvenido Reyes and Elihu Ybañez.

The freeze order covered 28 respondents from the Ampatuan clan headed by patriarch and former Gov. Datu Andal Salibo Ampatuan Sr. of Maguindanao, wife Hadja Bai Laila Uy Ampatuan, former Mayor Datu Andal Uy Ampatuan Jr., suspended ARMM Gov. Zaldy Puti Uy, Sajid Islam Uy Ampatuan, and several others.

Also covered by the freeze order, which shall last for 20 days unless extended by the appellate court, were Deal Gems and Jewelries Pawnshop, Maguindanao Electric Cooperative and the concerned branches of Banco de Oro, Unibank, Bank of Philippine Islands, BPI Family Savings Bank, Development Bank of the Philippines, Coop Bank of Cotabato, East West Banking Corp., Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corporation, one Network RB, Inc., and several other conduits or firms.

Inch-thick documents from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) indicated that the total aggregate amount or total value of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Ampatuans “amassed, accumulated, or acquired by the subject individuals is way above the threshold amount of P50 million.”

Alarmed by the virtual “paralysis” of the ARMM bureaucracy in the court freeze order, Regional Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo flew to Manila Wednesday to seek reconsideration from the CA.

Sinarimbo spent personal money for his travel because the check issued for the purpose was not honored by the LBP branch here as a result of the freeze order.

Malacañang hailed the CA freeze order.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said they hope the freeze order issued by the court would hasten the plunder trial against some Ampatuan members who allegedly amassed some P1 billion.

“We would like to thank the Court of Appeals for issuing the freeze order as applied by Anti-Money Laundering Council,” Lacierda said in a press briefing at the Palace. (With a report from Genalyn D. Kabiling)
23) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.0  View Web Page 
Inquirer News  
Wednesday, 8. June 2011 14:53  Write a comment

CA freezes P1B ARMM funds; regional gov’t caught by surprise
By Nash B. Maulana
Inquirer Mindanao

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — After freezing the assets believed owned by the Ampatuan clan of Maguindanao, the Court of Appeals has ordered four banks to withhold the release of around P1 billion in public funds intended by the national government for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

In its resolution on June 6, the appeals court ruled to restrain four depository banks of the ARMM from allowing the regional government to encash checks issued by the regional government, said lawyer Dionisio Jimenez, the Court of Appeals second division clerk of court.

ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo said the ARMM government was caught flat-footed by the CA resolution, which stemmed from a case filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLA) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas against the Ampatuans.

The CA “Notice of Order” named “Andal Ampatuan Sr., Bai Laila Ampatuan and Andal Ampatuan Sr., et al” as respondents in the AMLA petition.

But the same petition also sought the freezing of close to P1 billion in government funds contained in the ARMM government’s MDS (Modified Disbursement System) account, which are deposited with the Cotabato City Branch of the Land Bank of the Philippines.

The court has ordered three more banks in Makati City to withhold ARMM funds— the Legazpi branch of the Allied Banking Corporation, the Banco de Oro branch along Makati Avenue, and the Bank of Philippine Islands, also along Ayala Avenue.

LBP officials are saying Current Account No. 2037900839 belongs to the Office of the Regional Governor of the ARMM and does not bear identity of any individual surnamed Ampatuan.

Sinarimbo said the court’s freeze order would practically paralyze the operations of the region.

The order covers the freezing of the entire ARMM banking account under its MDS funds for salaries, maintenance and operations and project outlay, according to Sinarimbo.

“Around P 400,000 in salaries of teachers alone would be affected, and they would not be paid their salaries in effect,” Sinarimbo said.

Sinarimbo said the government should be “circumspect with such a move that would affect the entire constituency of the region.”

“How could they fail to distinguish the MDS account of the ARMM from the banking account of the Ampatuans?” ARMM information director Ali Macabalang asked.

He said the order has halted at least the basic government operations for education with the current start of classes, as well as health and social services for Muslim communities.

“This would certainly deprive everyone in the Muslim communities,” Macabalang lamented.

Earlier, the court froze the assets of the Ampatuans, but the AMLA had reportedly not immediately established a paper trail of banking transactions traceable to the principal respondents.

Sinarimbo said the ARMM government would immediately appeal the CA ruling.

Members of the Ampatuan clan, including former ARMM Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, have been implicated in the November 23, 2009 massacre of 57 people, mostly media workers, in Maguindanao. The victims were on their way to file the certificate of candidacy of now Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu at the Commission on Elections office in Maguindanao when waylaid by the alleged militiamen of the Ampatuans
22) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.0 
Christian V. Esguerra, Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Jero  
Tuesday, 7. June 2011 14:41  Write a comment

It’s official: ARMM polls scuttled
By Christian V. Esguerra, Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Jerome C. Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer


It’s done. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections are effectively postponed.

After the House of Representatives on Tuesday ratified the bill to postpone the polls that the Senate approved late Monday, all that is needed is for President Benigno Aquino III to put his signature on the document.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said there was no longer any need for a bicameral conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill as the modifications made by the Senate were minor.

“The changes were not so drastic and we agreed with them,” he said.

The House, which passed its version of the bill in March, met on Tuesday to look over the amendments made by the Senate and decided to adopt the Senate version in its entirety.

There was loud—but ultimately futile—opposition from the minority over the Senate’s removal of a provision in the House version which would have disqualified the Malacañang-appointed officers-in-charge from running in the elections of 2013.

Meanwhile, everyone is bracing for the inevitable battle in the Supreme Court over the new law’s constitutionality.

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, who was one of seven senators who voted against the bill, on Tuesday urged candidates for the ARMM elections “to go up to the SC and question this move.”

He said he was willing to serve as a “co-petitioner” in such a case, and provide complainants with logistical support, including minutes of the Senate deliberations.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Franklin Drilon, the author of the Senate version, said they were confident that the measure could withstand judicial scrutiny.

“I think we will win the case. We are respecting the Constitution, the highest law of the land,” Enrile said.

“The postponement of the election is because of the constitutional mandate to have synchronized elections,” Drilon insisted.

Ali Macabalang, ARMM information officer, said the issue of postponing the elections was over, “but this is just the beginning of a continuing legal battle among legal experts.”

Kader Indar, a former Cotabato City judge, said Muslim lawyers will contest the postponement law “on the question of constitutionality.”

Indar said political appointments by the President in ARMM could “open the floodgates to political opportunism” instead of bringing reforms to the ARMM.

Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong, who opposed the bill in the House, said he would join the Muslim lawyers who would question the constitutionality of the measure before the courts as soon as it is signed into law by the President.

At the Commission on Elections, Chair Sixto Brilliantes said the poll body would be “a little bit happy, a little bit relaxed” in the next few months with Congress voting to postpone the elections.

Because of the delay in congressional action, the Comelec had been preparing for a manual voting at ARMM, in case the Aug. 8 vote would push through. Now it will put all preparations on hold, he said.

At the ARMM, the new law and the senators, whichever way they voted, got both cheers and jeers.

“This success is a victory in pushing for reforms in the ARMM,” said Maranao activist Abdullah Dalidig, a convenor of the Reform the ARMM Now (RAN) coalition, which campaigned among legislators to support the poll postponement.

But leaders of the Interfaith Movement for Peaceful and Clean Elections (IM4PEACE) criticized the Senate’s decision as allowing the “dictatorial drift” of Mr. Aquino.

“The Senate vote was not respectful of the democratic rights of the people of ARMM to choose their leaders,” said Khairodin Limba Amerol of IM4PEACE.

“The constituional rights of the people to choose their leaders have been curtailed through dictation,” said Pax Mangudadatu, a candidate for ARMM governor.

Henrietta de Villa, chair of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, said in a radio interview the Senate vote made her “very sad.”

“The main issue is the autonomy of the region. Making elections there a touch and go thing, provoking a situation where public officials, especially the ARMM leadership, will be appointed by the central administration rather than elected by the ARMM voters themselves seem to trivialize the autonomy of the region, and in fact goes against the Organic Law creating the ARMM,” she said. With reports from Ryan D. Rosauro, Nash B. Maulana, Charlie C. Señase, Edwin O. Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao
21) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)  Send ICQ Message  Instant Messenger 
Noel Y. Punzalan  
Cotabato City
Friday, 15. April 2011 06:16  Write a comment

ARMM hails Indonesia’s decision to join IMT in Mindanao

April 14, 2011

By Noel Y. Punzalan


COTABATO CITY, April 13, 2011 The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) hailed on Tuesday the decision of Indonesia to join the International Monitoring Team (IMT) looking into intermittent clashes between government forces and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in troubled spots of Mindanao.

Such move by Indonesia is a big boost to the ongoing peace process between the government and MILF, Ali Macabalang, chief of the ARMM Bureau of Public Information, said.

Currently, members of the Malaysian-led IMT are in Davao City for a string of meetings.

Indonesia brokered the successful 1996 final accord between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and mainstream Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) then chaired by Nur Misuari.

Long before the GPH-MNLF peace accord, however, several comrades of Misuari bolted the MNLF hierarchy to form the MILF due to ideological differences.

The MILF remains as the largest rebel group struggling for self-determination in Mindanao.

Macabalang said that in a message received by the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta last week, the Indonesian government has conveyed its interest to be a part of the IMT presently composed of Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, the European Union, Japan and Norway.

The decades-old Moro rebellion in Mindanao has so far claimed the lives of over 200,000 people and resulted in the underdevelopment of its troubled spots that included the ARMM.

The ARMM comprises the cities of Marawi and Lamitan; and the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-tawi, Sulu and Basilan.
20) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; .NET C 
Aquino urged to address ancestral domain issue  
Friday, 16. July 2010 11:00  Write a comment

Aquino urged to address ancestral domain issue
07/16/2010 | 02:26 PM

To address the Mindanao issue, the Aquino administration has to deal with the region’s most central problem — ancestral domain, said Satur Ocampo, former head of the National Democratic Front panel talking peace with the government.

Ocampo expressed his opinion in an interview with GMANews.TV Friday, a day after President Benigno Aquino III announced his choice, Marvic Leonen, for the post of chief government negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Leonen, dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law, as well as a lawyer and activist, may fit the role of chief negotiator but he might only echo existing government policies, Ocampo said.

"The only problem here is he cannot initiate an independent position different from what the President may define. Ang limitation ng isang chief negotiator is that implementor lamang siya nung policy decision ng principal which is the President," Ocampo explained.

Ocampo, a journalist and former representative of the party-list group Bayan Muna, said he is not aware of Leonen’s position on the issue of the ancestral domain, the bone of contention in the MILF-GRP peace negotiations.

"From my point of view it is important that the ancestral domain issue shall be solved satisfactorily to both parties," he said.

Malacanang announced on Thursday the appointment of Leonen as the head of the government panel in the resumption of peace talks with the MILF.

In a press statement, President Aquino said Leonen understands the country's history, different cultures, and aspirations.

Ocampo, however, said what the government needs to do is to be flexible, and even willing to amend the 1987 Constitution, if that would help achieve a satisfactory settlement of the “Bangsamoro issues."

Bangsamoro or Moroland, is the homeland of the Moro people, the largest non-Christian group in the country, comprising about five to 10 percent of the total Philippine population.
It was originally home to the Muslim sultanates of Mindanao which resisted Spanish colonial rule (1521 to 1898), and were not fully integrated with the rest of the islands.

However, during the American occupation of the islands (1898 to 1946), Bangsamoro was slowly integrated into the rest of the country.

In 1990, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was created to act as a homeland for Moros. At present, the ARMM includes the provinces of Sulu, Basilan (excluding Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi, and Maguindanao (excluding Cotabato).

The Arroyo administration’s peace efforts with the MILF were jeopardized in late 2008 when the Supreme Court barred the signing of — and eventually ruled as unconstitutional — a memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain between the government and the MILF expanding the ARMM. – VVP, GMANews.TV
19) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; .NET C 
ARMM names new DepEd executive  
Friday, 11. June 2010 13:45  Write a comment

June 11, 2010, 3:38pm
COTABATO CITY – A law professor has been appointed as new regional secretary of Department of Education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DepEd-ARMM) under the ARMM’s first salvo of its continuous bureaucratic revamp to help bring the impoverished region to greater heights.

Local education sector stakeholders and even media practitioners warmly welcomed the assumption in Thursday morning here of attorney-general Baratucal L. Caudang as new DepEd-ARMM secretary following his appointment by ARMM acting Gov. Ansarudding Alonto-Adiong.

Caudang, a law professor at the Mindanao State University (MSU) main campus, took his oath before ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbon, and proceeded to his new office and promptly held a press briefing to announce his initial plans and policies to teachers, education officials and other stakeholders.

He described his immediate predecessor, fellow lawyer Hamid Barra as “upright person” who, he said, may have been overwhelmed by the long-standing bureaucratic problems in the education department.
Also on Thursday, lawyer Pangilamun Mamowalas was sworn in as the new attorney-general, Caudang’s former position, in concurrent capacity as ARMM Cabinet secretary.

Sinarimbo earlier said the turnover of leadership in the education department was “just start” of the continuous performance audit and revamp under the Adiong administration.
18) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; .NET C 
ARMM gets ready for floods  
Friday, 11. June 2010 13:31  Write a comment

ARMM gets ready for floods
By Charlie Señase
Inquirer Mindanao
First Posted 16:01:00 06/05/2010
COTABATO CITY, Philippines— The Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has started stockpiling food in anticipation of displacements due to floods as the rainy season starts.

“We are prepared for any eventuality, that’s why we have the stockpile to respond to an emergency,” ARMM Social Welfare Secretary Pombaen Kader said.

In Maguindanao alone, several low-lying areas were considered flood-prone. These are in the towns of Sultan Kudarat, Datu Piang, Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Sultan sa Barongis.

Kader said that, in fact, the rains have already submerged some areas of Maguindanao and some 9,350 residents were affected.

She added, however, that no large-scale evacuation has been reported so far.

“Affected residents have not yet abandoned homes,” she said.

But Kader said social welfare officers were on alert to assist residents.
17) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; .NET C 
ARMM 2010 Budget - P9.435 billion  
Sunday, 10. January 2010 09:56  Write a comment

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) — one of the Philippines’ poorest areas — has become a huge employment agency, Senate minority floor leader Aquilino Pimentel said during a Senate budget deliberations on Tuesday (12.08.09).

Seventy percent of the ARMM’s P9.448 billion allocation was spent on salaries of personnel, it was learned during the proceedings.

Only 20 percent of the ARMM budget went to the maintenance and other operating expenses and 10 percent for capital outlay.

The ARMM governor was arrested, together with his other family members, for alleged connection in the killing of 57 people, (November 2009) including women and journalists, in Maguindanao.

Ampatuan’s replacement — ARMM vice governor Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong — is still waiting for the result of the operational audit being conducted by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The budget for the 2010 is earmarked for P9.435 billion.

It is pretty much standard that if a province, city, or municipality in the Philippines generates income and pay taxes to the Philippine government, about 70 percent of that money paid out will be re-invested to the source.

The ARMM generated less than 5 billion pesos in 2009 and received over 9 billion.

You do not have to be a mathematician to figure out the inequity here.

The other sad part is that the non-muslim filipinos in the ARMM area did not get to benefit from the allocation of the 9.448 billion pesos.
16) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; .NET C 
Philippine Two Star - Flag  
Tuesday, 21. July 2009 21:21  Write a comment

The Philippine flag carries a lot of meaningful symbolisms for the Filipino people.

There are three(3)stars in the Philippines flag. Each corner of the flag’s triangle contains a small, yellow, five-pointed star representing the three major geographical divisions of the country:


The 1987 constitution refers to Mindanao not as “Mindanao” but as “Muslim Mindanao”. Yes Article 10 section 1 of the Philippine constitution refers to Mindanao as “Muslim Mindanao”. In Article 10 section 15 it repeats its reference to Mindanao as “Muslim Mindanao”.

Are we united as a democratic country of the Philippines? Or we just think we are. Because on paper, per the constitution, we are divided.

Declaring autonomous regions in the Philippines for the indigenous people is fine and is perfectly justifiable. But to create an autonomous region for a Religion? Now, that is contrary to Article 2 section 6 of the constitution which states: ”The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.”.

So if Mindanao is no longer Mindanao but is now Muslim Mindanao and part of the ARMM which the President of the Philippines and the DILG has no control over, then we might as well fly a flag with only TWO STARS.
15) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; .NET C 
Philippine President No Power over the ARMM  
Tuesday, 21. July 2009 21:07  Write a comment

The president of the Philippines has no power over the ARMM. Yet the Philippine government budgets billions of pesos each year for the ARMM.

The department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has no power over the ARMM. The number one function of the DILG is to “Assist the President in the exercise of general supervision over local governments”. There are seventeen regions in the Philippines in which the ARMM is one of them. The DILG exercises control over the other 16 regions except the region of the ARMM.

The only bit of control the president has is over the OMA (office of muslim affairs) which is directly under the president. The OMA is not for all the Filipino people, it is only for the Muslims as the name implies. Millions of pesos are also allocated each year to this department where only one section of the Filipino people is benefited. I am not against any Religion. I am for equality. Why is there favoritism here? Was this the idea of the majority of the Filipino people? How did this slip through? Now they are talking about changing the constitution again.

Be aware people. Don’t you want equality? Don’t you want peace in the Philippines? The poor needs help. The government should not help “RELIGION”. The government should help the PEOPLE. After all we are a DEMOCRACY. A government for the people, by the people, and of the people.
14) IP logged  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4  View Web Page 
Friday, 5. September 2008 03:50  Write a comment would like to know your opinion regarding the questions below:

1. Article 2 section 6 of the Philippine Constitution states:”The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.”
a. Do you think we should uphold the “SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE”?

2. If we uphold article II section 6 of the Philippine constitution which is the “Separation of church and state”,
a. Doesn’t it make this whole issue of the MOA unconstitutional since the MOA favors only the Muslims?

3. Thousands of years before Christianity or Islam settled in this archipelago, (now the Philippines) the indigenous people were here. The blood line of these indigenous people (Subanons, Lutaos, Samals, Bajaus, Tausugs, and Yakans) now run in veins of the people in Mindanao, some of them now Christians, some Muslims, and some belong to other religions. The Muslims arrived in the archipelago (Philippines) in the 14th century. The Christians arrived in the 16th century.
a. Do you think the Subanons, Lutaos, Samals, Bajaus, Tausugs, and Yakans have a claim to ancestral domain?
b. Do you think the Muslims in Mindanao have a claim to ancestral domain?
c. If these tribes (Subanons, Lutaos, Samals, Bajaus, Tausugs, and Yakans) were converted to Christianity instead of Islam, Do you think the government would give Christianity ancestral domain in Mindanao?
d. Can a religion claim ancestral domain?

4. Article 10 section 1 of the Philippine constitution refers to Mindanao as “Muslim Mindanao”. In Article 10 section 15 it repeats its reference to Mindanao as “Muslim Mindanao”.
a. Do you think the “architects” of the 1987 Philippine Constitution sold out Mindanao by referring to it as “Muslim Mindanao”?

5. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was created under Republic Act 6734, which followed the direction of Article 10 section 15 of the Philippine Constitution.
a. However, isn’t this contradictory to Article 2 section 6 which states: ”The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.”?
b. Isn’t it unconstitutional for the Philippine Government to continue supporting the Muslim religion financially and not any other religion? E.g. OMA (office on Muslim affairs) and the ARMM

Your answers to the above questions will help enlighten the readers and viewers of and hopefully the rest of the Filipino people who may have the same inquiries.

Last Septermber 1, 2008, I personally delivered this questioner to the offices of the following: Mayor Celso Lobregat; Vice-Mayor Mannix Dalipe; Congressman Erbie Fabian; Congresswoman Beng Climaco, President of Ateneo Fr. Tony Moreno, and Archbishop Romulo Valles:

And to this date only the Honorable Mannix Dalipe answered the letter. The rest just completely ignored the questions. Mind you, I followed up with a phone call to make sure that each person received the letter and each of their assistants have confirmed that the addressees have indeed received the letter.
HTML code is enabled     Next Page

Powered by Advanced Guestbook 2.3.1