COTABATO CITY – Regional Governor for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan had successfully said his piece on his 3rd State of the Region Address on November 19, this year.

In his speech, Gov. Zaldy assessed his two-year term in five (5) key priority areas he laid for the autonomous region: peace and security, governance and reforms, economic activities, social services and infrastructures.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP), Gov. Zaldy said, has maintained peace and order throughout the region. He mentioned the decreasing number of clashes between the AFP and organized groups which has only 11 cases in the first half of 2007. The PNP-ARMM, on the other hand, had also effectively enforced laws and order with the decreasing crime incidence which is 81 percent crime solution efficiency.

He also thanked the Government of Malaysia, Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and members of the International Monitoring Committee (IMT) for their full support and cooperation in the government peace efforts.

The Regional Governor started the reform in the region through addressing the problem of the Department of Education (DepEd) with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) by religiously remitting the mandatory obligations such as the GSIS remittances and premiums of ARMM employees.

With the budget of ARMM for 2008 which is P8.6B, Gov. Zaldy further asked Congress an additional amount of P1.64B to cover additional capital outlay and GSIS unremitted premiums and interests.

On revenue measures, the autonomous region has generated P1.34B for the past 22 months which is 26 percent higher than the past administration. The governor lauded the local government units (LGUs) in doing their share in securing the revenue and responding the needs of their constituents.

Gov. Zaldy showed off the boosting economy of the region. The production of rice, corn, fish and seaweeds has continued to increase. The establishment of seaweeds processing plant in Parang, Shariff Kabunsuan is also on its way.

On infrastructure and livelihood, there are 136 projects in the entire region funded by 5 foreign donor institutions; 96 of these were completed and 40 are still on-going.

The governor also announced the various social services the regional government had extended. The DepEd has continues to deliver educational service to improve the academic performance and skills of teachers, students and pupils.

The Bureau of Madaris, Commission on Higher Education CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Department of Health (DOH) has done so much in improving quality and efficient books, buildings, initiatives and health system which is responsive to the needs of ARMM constituents.

Gov. Zaldy further stressed that regional government through the Department of Social Welfare, has undertook rehabilitation programs and timely relief assistance to communities affected by natural and man-made calamities.

Meanwhile, Regional Governor Ampatuan presented to about thousand throng his policy directions and priorities for year 2008.

He will commence next year with the review of “An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” or RA 9054 to identify what provisions to be implemented, to be legislated and to be amended to make ARMM more viable and sustainable.

Gov. Ampatuan wanted to ask the regional assembly to fast-track the enactment of Administrative Codes, Regional Investments and Incentives Code and amendment of the Regional Local Government and Regional Internal Revenue Codes to be more responsive to the needs and requirements of the autonomous region.

The regional government strengthens its support to the full implementation of 1996 GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement and GRP-MILF Peace Negotiation and intensifies the information campaign on Human Security Act of 2007 or RA 9372.

However, Gov. Ampatuan expressed that the two years he had spent is not enough to achieve the full growth and stability of ARMM but with the efforts of the whole ARMM officials and constituents, ‘we can say with confidence that we have significantly brought the region towards a better path of more sustained peace and discernable socio-economic development.’

“I ask you to maintain our unity and collaborative efforts, strengthen our partnership and continue to do our task in the best way we can – not only this is our responsibility but our moral obligation to the Bangsamoro people,” Gov. Zaldy ended. (bpi-armm)
November 21, 2007
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao