• ARMM Cabinet members submit courtesy resignations

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    COTABATO CITY: All members of the regional Cabinet of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are all set to submit their courtesy resignations by mid-June to Regional Governor-elect Mujiv Hataman to give him a free hand in choosing talents who can help him manage ARMM affairs.

    Hataman, who has been at the helm of the regional government since December 2011 as caretaker, got his official mandate after winning the regional gubernatorial post in the last May 13 elections.

    He assumes his post as full-fledged regional governor effective July 1.

    Lawyer Makmod Mending Jr., Hataman’s local government secretary, said they will file their courtesy resignations by middle of June.

    “We want the RG [regional governor]to have a free hand in putting up a Cabinet that could help him put ahead his reform agenda for ARMM and his projects meant to hasten Malacañang’s Mindanao peace process,” Mending said.

    Mending, of Maguindanaon descent, said he is certain Hataman, a Yakan from Basilan will constitute his new Cabinet with people from ARMM’s five provinces to ensure “inter-tribal representation” in the region’s executive department.

    ARMM is composed of Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, including Marawi and Lamitan Cities.

    In a previous press conference, Hataman told the Cotabato-based media that he might retain some old faces of his Cabinet and replace those who did not perform well.

    ARMM environment secretary Kahal Kedtag, whose appointment was confirmed early this year by the Commission on Appointments of the 27-member Regional Legislative Assembly, said they will respect the decision of Hataman if he will replace his present secretaries and the chiefs of support offices under the Office of the Regional Governor (ORG).

    “We serve at the pleasure of the governor and the millions of people he represents as elected leader of the autonomous region. We are ready for possible `changing of the guards’ in the regional government,” Kedtag said.

    The Office of the Regional Governor is touted as “Little Mala-cañang” of ARMM, owing to its administrative and ministerial control over many public offices and departments.

    Hence, as elected ARMM regional governor, Hataman will exercise ministerial control over about 40 agencies devolved by the national government and other support offices and special outfits established to function as service feature of the Muslim autonomous region.

    Interior and Local Government Secretary Mending added, “Our main concern now, the co-terminus regional secretaries, is how to be of help to the gradual transition from the present ARMM to the Bangsamoro entity the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are to put up before the 2016 elections.”

    The MILF and the government peace panels will replace the ARMM with the Bangsamoro Government based on the Oct. 15, 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

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