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Malacanang Statement: On the postponement of the ARMM elections

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The Palace maintains its position that the postponement of the ARMM elections so that it may be synchronized with the National Elections in 2013 is the most effective way to implement systemic reform in the region.

The ARMM has long been the target of development projects funded both by national and international entities, and yet its provinces remain the poorest in the country. Among the root causes of such a phenomenon is a local government that borders on the feudal, and which has long been empowered by national candidates intent on reaping command votes for the area.

And so the vicious cycle goes: national candidates feed their respective bets during ARMM campaign season, who, once they gain power, then ensure command votes for their patrons during national elections.

Synchronization will eliminate such venues for old-style, transactional politics. It will pave the way for clean, honest elections in the region, and help calm one of the hottest areas during national elections. Most importantly, it will finally allow development efforts to take root, and help ensure that basic services will be delivered to the people of the ARMM.

Postponing the ARMM elections so that it may be synchronized with the 2013 National Elections will also provide the government with a two-year window to pursue reforms in the region. It is of utmost importance that those at the helm during such a critical period be people of integrity and competence, unshackled by ambition and free from political debt, so that the true essence of democracy be felt and exercised by the people of the ARMM once elections ensue.




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