Hataman: Change is here, beckoning, happening in our midst
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman delivered his final state of the region address Monday, underscoring the success of his leadership in instituting reforms and good governance that transformed the lives of the people across the region.
“Change is here, beckoning, echoing right in our midst,” Hataman said before officials of ARMM and personalities including Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal and Presidential Peace adviser Teresita Deles. “We only need to look around us to know how things have changed for the better for the people of ARMM since we instituted reforms.”
Hataman, who was appointed OIC governor of ARMM by President Benigno Aquino III and later became the elected governor, likened himself as an “experienced driver” who led the journey of the people of ARMM into a destination that is progressive.
And what ARMM enjoys now is primarily because of the trust of the national government that “we were able to gain back” and the “support of the people in our reform agenda.”
The reforms were also successful because of the regional’s strong partnership with the civil-society movement and local government units.
He said the regional government performance since he assumed office three years ago was closely guided by the three pillars of reforms – good governance, socio-economic development, and peace and security. These, he said, supported the agenda of the regional government that, in the end, “made the impossible possible.”
Hataman highlighted the plight of farmers, fishermen, public school teachers and public employees, stressing the risk and sacrifices they take just to make the region stable and productive.
“As we gather here, always remember that in a faraway area in Basilan, despite the dangers, a public school teacher is taking the risk, tirelessly, just so she will be able to help Moro children get education,” he said. “In the hinterlands of Lanao del Sur, a farmer is currently harvesting sili and sakurab, the main ingredients to the palapa that most of us love. Right at his very moment, fishermen in Sulu have sailed for another day full of hope, while in the island of Tawi-Tawi, seaweed farmers are busy harvesting agar-agar. They are those that provide us with the bounties of our rich seas.”
In a public school in a town in Maguindanao, he said, school children will no longer scamper for safety for fear of being caught in a crossfire – and instead, “they are peacefully learning their lesson, and they will go home safely to their families.”
A stable and progressive ARMM, he said, are the “fruits of our cooperation” brought by the public’s trust over the “working ARMM government.”
Hataman counted down his administration’s success:
*Delisting of 75,242 ghost students between 2012 and 2013 and delisting of 21,374 ghost enrollees in 2014
*End of “palakasan system” in the employment process that resulted in the promotion of 454 employees as of June this year, and the recruitment of 1,323 new teachers in May. At least 2,000 more positions are up for grab this year
*The region’s National Achievement Test performance has improved from 57.25 percent in 2013, to to 62.2 percent this year. The results for the high school level test was also encouraging from 38.22 percent in 2013 to 44 percent this year.
*A memorandum of agreement between the regional government, DBM and GSIS resulted in the payment of P891.4 million worth of unpaid premiums for thousands of public school teachers to the GSIS, and an additional P100 million within on year. Because of this, employees of DepEd are now enjoying GSIS benefits.
*DPWH ARMM accumulated savings amounting to P250.276 million and the money was used to purchase additional construction equipment.
*Rehabilitation and construction of 158.907 kilometres of road that improved commerce, connected communities together, and made markets and farms easily accessible.
*The ongoing construction of five bridges in different parts of the region, and the construction of 13 water systems, and rehabilitation of 10 seaports, and completion of 8 flood control and drainage facilities have.
*Investors have also started eyeing ARMM as areas for viable for business. In 2013, Hataman said, investment reached P1.46 billion and for the third quarter of 2014, investments reached P3.372 billion, more than double the investments recorded last year.
The international business conference conducted in Tawi-Tawi recently also gathered 400 investors from Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, and Japan, and multinational companies with base in Mindanao. The conference, he said, resulted in the pledge of more than P900 million worth of investments in oil palm, power generation, and the seaweed trading between Tawi-Tawi and Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
“What we are enjoying today are the results of the reforms we dared to implement,” he said. “The trust of the national government over our capacity to ignite change in the region became the driving force that sparked the growth and the economic development of the region after only a very short time.”
In 2011, Hataman said, ARMM’s Gross Regional Domestic Product was at negative 0.3 percent. The region’s GRDP skyrocketed to 3.6 percent in 2013, an 1.1 percent recovery growth in 2012. The upbeat economy was brought by the service and agriculture sectors, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Development and progress, he said, will be “more palpable if the Bangsamoro is strong.”
“The Bangsamoro will offer itself as an entity which will continue what we have started,” he said.
“The Bangsamoro is the realization of our dreams as a nation. Let us welcome it. Let us embrace it. We are part of a history unfolding before us. And we have a role to play. As we look forward to a brighter future, let us always be reminded of where we are standing on right now. Let us strengthen the delivery of services to the public as we approach the end and welcome another government.” (Bureau of Public Information)