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8/11 ARMM Elections

While the GPH rationale keeps changing, postponement of the 8/11 ARMM elections appears to be imminent. From its inception, the clear lesson in the ARMM has always been: What the President wants, the president gets. It is unfair to ascribe ill motives to all Philippine presidents for postponements of ARMM elections or for their choice of Regional Governor. ARMM has always been a national security issue for the Republic of the Philippines. It is this issue that has guided their resolutions on the ARMM.

While it remains as such, President Noynoy Aquino has added good governance and election reform. This bodes well for the ARMM and the Bangsamoro People. A well-governed ARMM and an honest people-decided elections are the right beginnings to the path to deliver the oft-cited “peace and development” which has been the mantra of leaders – Moro and national officials – since the beginning of the peace process in 1975.

The problems of the ARMM are known. The solutions are known. Yet, the problems have festered. Neither the local officials nor the national officials have made decisive and effective actions. Now, the PNoy administration is going for the jugular in the realization of a real and genuine autonomy – one that people truly elect their leaders and the ARMM financially and economically independent of the national government. The first element of true election by the people consists of cleaning the voters list and synchronizing the ARMM elections with the regular May elections of the national and local elections. The second element of financial and economic independence consists of eradicating corruption and enhancing revenue generation.


With postponement decided, the important issue now is who will be the officer-in-charge regional governor of the ARMM. Many names have been mentioned. The one that is prominently cited is former Congressman and Anak Mindanao Representative Mujiv Hataman. Some national commentators, like former Senator Ernesto Maceda, have said that newly-appointed Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs and former Akbayan President Ronaldo Llamas is the primary supporter of Hataman. Hataman is a three term member of the House of Representatives, an active reformer and with the youthful ardor to carry out the marching orders of the President.

Other names that have been mentioned are Undersecretary Nabil Tan, who appears to be supported by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr, OPAPP Consultant Suharto Ambolodto, who has been endorsed by Cotabato City Vice Mayor Muslimin Sema and Congresswoman Bai Sandra Sema, ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo, who is viewed as a competent technocrat who can get things done, and PCID Head Amina Rasul, who is now connected with Mindanao Development Authority.


The Bangsamoro Women were well-represented in the Fourth Session of the Tripartite Meeting Between the OIC, The Government of the Republic of the Philippines and The MNLF in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last 22-23 February 2011. Yasmin Busran-Lao of Lanao, Bainon Karun of Maguindanao, and Fatmawati Salapuddin of Sulu actively participated in the discussion. Happening in the heels of Women’s Month, this is a breakthrough for women’s participation in the peace process.

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