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Postponement of the 8/11 ARMM Elections

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Important members of the House of Representatives, including most of the Filipino Muslim Congressmen, met with President Noynoy Aquino last March 3, 2011 in Malacanang. According to reports, he made it clear to the Congressmen his position on the issue of postponing the ARMM elections and sought their support. The outcome of the meeting was an agreement to hold Congressional consultations in Cotabato City, Marawi City and Zamboanga City. 

The consultation for the residents of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi will be held in Zamboanga City on March 13, 2011 in the Don Pablo Lorenzo Gymnasium. Groups for and against the postponement of the August 2011 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao elections have begun to mobilize. Spearheading the hearing is the Chairman of the Committee on Muslim Affairs Congressman Tupay T. Loong of the First District, Province of Sulu. Cong. Loong has been actively participating in the national state affairs.

Two groups from Sulu have made known their support for the postponement of the ARMM elections. Tindug Sulu Movement (TSM), spearheaded by Chairman Amalad Abduhasad, is submitting his position paper on the matter. To quote, “Our movement calls for the people of Sulu to stand up for change. We ask the Philippine Congress to approve the bill for the postponement of the ARMM elections. It is time for peace and development in Sulu. Reform ARMM Now!”

Kamahardikaan ng Moro Organization, (KMO) thru its President Muammar Tantong, stated, “It is our position that the ARMM elections must be postponed to give way to the appointment of sincere, competent, and honest Bangsamoro leaders. The time of the traditional politicians in the ARMM must end. They have brought the ARMM to the dump pits of corruption and failed governance.”

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I received an email from OPAPP Consultant Attorney Suharto Ambolodto reacting to my March 4, 2011 article entitled, “8/11 ARMM Elections.” Here is his full letter: “I am very flattered that you have included my name among those whose name has been floated. However I would like to correct the gossip or rumor that MNLF senior leader Datu Muslimin G Sema and her wife the illustrious representative of the first district of Maguindanao and Cotabato City have either or both endorsed me for any position. Nakakahiya po kay Sir Mus at Kay Bai. We have not talked about endorsing anybody for any office.”

My sincere apologies to Atty. Ambolodto, Vice Mayor Sema and Congresswoman Sema. While it may not be true that he has been endorsed by both leaders, Atty. Ambolodto is immensely qualified for the job. 

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According to China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, “China holds indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea and their adjacent waters.” This is a very strong statement that will surely rankle many of the Asean countries. As China continues to flex its muscles, many Asean countries will continue to seek secure partnership with United States of America. When will the policy of “peaceful rise” end and the policy of bullying begin?

For questions and comments, please email writer at ebaddiri@gmail.com

BY ATTY. EDIL BADDIRI




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