ARMM Assembly elects new Speaker
- John Unson () - August 27, 2003 - 12:00am
COTABATO CITY — The Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has elected its third Speaker in 14 months.

Members of the RLA crossed party lines and held extensive dialogues before unseating Speaker Ismael Abubakar Jr. of Tawi-Tawi and installing Sulu Assemblyman Abraham Burahan during a special session here the other night.

Abubakar became Speaker last May in a controversial takeover of the RLA leadership from Maguindanao Assemblyman Ibrahim Ibay.

Burahan’s bloc, now the RLA majority, claimed that Abubakar "lacked transparency" in managing the legislature’s coffers.

Thirteen members of the 24-seat RLA, including Ibay and assemblymen from Lanao del Sur, threw their support behind Burahan’s assumption as the new Speaker.

The ARMM covers Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan and Marawi City.

Burahan, a former three-term mayor of Marungas, an island-municipality in the first district of Sulu, said his main concern now is how to foster solidarity among the RLA members.

"My bloc will also see to it that there will be transparency in our managing of the affairs of the RLA," Burahan told The STAR.

Burahan said members of the bloc would also focus on legislation that would complement President Arroyo’s peace initiatives in the ARMM and prop up the region’s war-devastated economy.

While serving as Speaker for barely four months, Abubakar succeeded in enacting, with the help of assemblymen from the first district of Maguindanao, the creation of the Regional Economic Zone Authority (REZA).

The REZA, proposed by ARMM Trade and Industry Secretary Ishak Mastura, would assist and provide tax and tariff incentives to foreign investors.

ABUBAKAR AUTONOMOUS REGION BASILAN AND MARAWI CITY BURAHAN LANAO MAGUINDANAO MAGUINDANAO ASSEMBLYMAN IBRAHIM IBAY MUSLIM MINDANAO PRESIDENT ARROYO REGIONAL ECONOMIC ZONE AUTHORITY REGIONAL LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
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