Official Statement of ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman during Senate’s hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law
There was no discourse that proved wrong the contention that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was a failed experiment. It needed a miracle to save it.
The failure of government and the rule of law was a sad reflection of the truth of how the gains of the previous revolutions and the peace negotiations that followed were desecrated, if not wasted.
ARMM’s structure was not responsive of the real needs of the people. This imperfection took a toll on the civilians, the farmers, the mothers and their children. The weak government failed to deliver and it gradually resulted in its implosion. The failure of governance saw the rise of incidence of poverty, criminality, and terrorism.
After the government resolutely pursued the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, there had been no major breakout of conflict in the ARMM and other parts of Mindanao. The guns of the rebels and soldiers were silenced by the display of good faith and sincerity from both the government and the rebel group, especially when they signed the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. The condition of peace provided the people a respite from the never-ending cycle of violence, giving them the time to start their lives anew, dream, and hope once again.
It also allowed the regional government to focus its attention on building roads, bridges, classrooms, farm facilities, community health centers, markets, and homes. The same money could have been used for medicines, food packs, and building makeshift homes for people displaced by wars.
In the aftermath of the Mamasapano incident alone, we realized that the regional government has already spent over 50 million pesos for the needs of the affected communities. War is very costly, for the information of those who do not know.
Right now, our hope is that the state of peace being experienced in Mindanao now will last long. And everything that we have put in place will continue. ARMM extends its sincerest appreciation to President BenignoAquino III for his trust and confidence over the capacity and the dedication of its leaders and the entire regional government to ignite reform and initiate change and development in the region that, for the longest time, became a hapless victim of the neglect, mismanagement, and the greed of political warlords.
The Aquino administration’s own vision of development and reform became the guiding light of the regional government as it aggressively laid down its own agenda of political reform and development. We are very happy that the collective effort of the national government and the regional government paid well that we were able to surmount the darkness that swathed the region and its people, the Moro people, for so many years.
We are deeply pleased over the support as we recognize that without it, ARMM would have not absolved itself of the evils of the past; it would have been impossible for the regional government to prove itself against the enormous challenge of spurring positive developments and change in the lives of the people.
Without this support, without the trust and confidence, it would have been impossible for ARMM and the municipalities under its winds to be given the Seal of Good Governance Conditions. It was a proof that the reforms were working down to the levels of the local government units. It was a proof that these reforms were felt by the people. It was a proof that Moros are able to govern and are govern well.
We are also thankful to the members of both the Senate and House of Representatives for sharing our vision for the region. In 26 years, for the first time in its history, ARMM received the biggest budget of P24.3 billion. The increase in budget meant more projects and projects with greater and wider impacts. As it did in the past three years, the budget is being spent well for projects that truly promote peace and development and responsive to the needs of the people to overcome poverty and become responsible and productive citizens of the country. Part of the budget is also being spent on human resource development as we ready for the new Bangsamoro political entity.
Allow us to take note that because of our aggressive implementation of reforms came the influx of investments that continue to this day. But despite the accomplishments and breakthroughs, we recognize the fact that the current regional government has limitations as a result of an Organic Act that hinders full autonomy.
As local government leaders, we can only do so much as our hands are tied by these infirmities. This is the reason why the regional government and its leaders are supportive of the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which we believe will provide the people with more. We are supporting the passage of BBL as we firmly believe that it will address the weaknesses and imperfections of ARMM and will truly result in the fulfillment of the aspirations of the Moro people for self-determination and full autonomy.
We are supporting the passage of BBL as we underscore the need for a Bangsamoro that is stronger than the ARMM, a new government that will bring our people a life of greater opportunities and deliver the promises of a lasting peace.
We call on the members of this August body to listen and heed the voices of peace. Please pass BBL.