COTABATO CITY: Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) opened to the public this week the newly-renovated executive building which has been renamed Office of the Bangsamoro People.
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, who led the inauguration on Wednesday, stressed that the building’s new name emphasizes a pro-people and inclusive leadership.
“Gusto nating iparamdam na itong opisina ay hindi lamang office ng Regional Governor. Opisina ito ng ating mga kababayan at kabahagi sila dito [We want public to feel that this office is not only for the regional governor, but also for them],” Hataman explained.
He said the 32-hectare compound housing the different offices of the ARMM government will now be called the Bangsamoro People’s Complex, which was refurbished for P60.3 million.
The executive building is to serve as the seat of the envisioned Bangsamoro government, the autonomous political entity set to replace the 25-year old ARMM with core areas of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, including the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.
ARMM’s Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Emil Sadain said his department spared P35-million extracted from its “savings” for the rehabilitation of the 36-year-old building, while the remaining funds were arranged by the regional governor.
Hataman said the rehabilitation include the enhancement of the building’s security system. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were installed and an electronic identification system for employees and visitors will be implemented.
The inauguration was held amid the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) controversy after the Palace returned the draft BBL to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), which was mandated to craft the basic law, believing that it will not pass congressional scrutiny.
Since May 5, the delay made some worried, but Hataman appealed to the Bangsamoro people to endure more and have patience in the current peace talks.
“Optimistic ako na papasa, dahil very positive ako sa commitment ni Pangulong Aquino. Dapat maging bukas ang lahat at susuporta ang lahat na gagawa tayo ng batas para sa lahat na magbibigay ng solution sa problema ng Bangsamoro [I am optimistic that the BBL will be passed because I am very positive with the commitment of President Aquino. We should be open and supportive in making an inclusive law that will provide solution to Bangsamoro problem],” Hataman said.
“Kung kaya nating magtiis sa giyera, bakit hindi natin kayang maging patient, taasan natin ang patience natin para dito sa usaping pangkapayapaan [If we can endure the war, why can’t we be patient, we should increase our patience for this peace talks],” he said.
Hataman cited that the BBL was not only returned to the BTC but another technical working group with members from the GPH and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panels including the BTC was created to tackle issues and concerns in the proposed BBL ensuring that the bill will be approved by Supreme Court.
“Kapag certified na ni Pangulong Aquino [ang bill], wala tayong duda at takot na baka baliktarin ulit ng Supreme Court [If President Aquino certified the bill, we do not have to worry that the Supreme Court will reject it again,” he added.
The talks between the government and MILF was to resume on August 1 in Davao City.
Also present during the building inauguration were Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr., representatives of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, Brig. Gen. Edmund Pangilian, chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and oblate missionary Eliseo Mercado Jr., executive director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance.
Mangudadatu also distributed two tons of fresh giant bangus and 17 heads of roasted cows to hundreds of residents in celebration also to the weeklong Eid’l Fitr or feast of breaking the fast of Ramadan.
It is also noteworthy that residents of Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao such as Maranaos, Iranuns and Maguindanaoans have tremendously supported the government and MILF peace process during public consultations on April.