Isabela City, Basilan (May 19) – The regional governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) likened the proposed Bangsamoro regional government to be created with the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to a brand new car that would replace the older model ARMM vehicle to better deliver government services and bring peace to Mindanao.
The BBL is like a 2015 model that will replace the dilapidated ARMM 1986 model, said ARMM regional governor Mujiv Hataman before a gathering of civil society and community organizations in Isabela City, this morning. But like any car, the new model will need a good driver for it to perform better than the older ARMM model, he said.
The governor further likened the good driver to good governance on the part of the political and other government leaders that is needed to ensure the delivery of services and projects to local governments. The governor talked about good governance in relation to the theme of the event in which he was guest speaker, the holding of the annual partnership forum of the Nagdilaab Foundation, Inc. (NFI), which is “Strengthened Partnership for Peaceful, Sustainable, and Empowered Communities and Local Government Units”. NFI has for several years been implementing programs and projects in Basilan for peace-building, community development and environmental conservation in partnership with the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA). This morning it launched its next four-year program for Basilan that will focus on disaster risk reduction and management, peace education and security, economic enterprise development and good governance.
NFI’s 2015-2019 multi-pronged program cycle dubbed as Convenio II is funded by the Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional para Desarollo (AECID) and the Spanish foundation Manos Unidas. Among others it will engage with some 20 barangays in the municipalities of Lantawan, Maluso and Al Barka in efforts like peace education, good governance and disaster risk reduction management, with special emphasis on women participation.
During the opening ceremony of the forum, ZABIDA executive director Esperancita Hupida underscored the indispensability of the partnership between NFI and its local community principals to enable the residents to be totally engaged in the projects. ZABIDA board director Dr. Grace Rebollos also launched the consortium’s book titled as “ZABIDA Social Empowerment Partnership”.
Others who gave solidarity messages were: Muida S. Hataman, Provincial Director – TESDA-ARMM on Economic Productivity, youth leader Arsamer Abundi on sectoral empowerment, provincial governor Jum Akbar on participatory governance, and 104th Brigade Commander Col. Joselito Bautista on peace and security.
Hataman cited Basilan’s Akbar Municipality as a model of good governance because as he revealed although the town does not receive Internal Revenue Allocations from the national government, it has been implementing and completing infrastructure projects ahead of other towns solely from the funding support the ARMM extends to it. He said the municipal government has been investing in the purchase of construction equipment to more efficiently undertake its infrastructure projects.
Hataman said the ARMM has invested over P2-billion during his term for road projects in Basilan. Many of the municipal and provincial roads, he said, are now concreted such that the number of road accidents have increased because vehicles are running faster. There are also young people now using the concreted roads for drag racing, he said.
He, however, expressed disappointment with Isabela City because the ARMM has not been able to do any road project here because it is not part of the ARMM territorial jurisdiction. Isabela, the capital town of the province predominantly populated by Chrsitians, continues to oppose inclusion in the envisioned Bangsamoro region.
He said that good and effective governance in Basilan’s LGUs will encourage the national government to give more funds to Basilan. He said that because of ARMM’s performance, its annual funding has increased from the P11-billion in his first year as regional government to the P50-billion budget allocated for next year.