MILF: ARMM projects to continue under Bangsamoro entity
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - December 2, 2014 - 9:57am

COTABATO City, Philippines - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Monday assured to be at par or even surpass the efficiency of the present administration of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao once the Bangsamoro political entity replaces the present regional government.

Muhaquer Iqbal, chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, told reporters at the office of ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman in Cotabato City that they will continue the religious implementation of whatever costly unfinished projects the regional government shall turn over to the new entity once it is established via the draft Basic Bangsamoro Law.

The bill, which aims to replace the ARMM with an MILF-led Bangsamoro entity, is now in Congress, expected to be enacted into law by the first quarter of 2015.

“We will continue all the projects of the ARMM and all its programs benefiting all people in the region,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles were among the special guests on Monday’s state of the region address (SORA) of Hataman at the ARMM’s Sharif Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City.

Hataman’s SORA delved on his administration’s accomplishments in introducing reforms in the graft-ridden regional government and in the implementation of some P2 billion worth of infrastructure projects from 2012 to November 2014.

Hataman, through his SORA, punctuated by impromptu acknowledgement of the gains of the Mindanao peace process, again gave a vote of confidence to the on-going diplomatic overture between Malacañang and the MILF.

In a press conference with Hataman and Deles after the SORA, Iqbal said the projects and humanitarian programs of the ARMM administration will hasten the efforts of the MILF to foster peace and development in the autonomous region and other areas inside the proposed territory of the Bangsamoro entity.

The ARMM covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

“We can assure the public that the Bangsamoro will continue these projects and do its best to be at par if not surpass the performance of the present ARMM administration,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal said they find consoling Hataman’s assurance to relinquish his post and turnover to the incoming Bangsamoro entity whatever savings there are in all coffers of the ARMM’s line agencies and support offices under a transition process agreed by the MILF and government.

Hataman's administration had saved in the past two years more than P1 billion in state funds from the national government for the ARMM's education and public works departments, earmarked for projects and operating expenses of the two agencies, both touted as the region's most corrupt during the time of past regional governors. 

Hataman said that his SORA last Monday could be his last owing to the possibility of the replacement of the ARMM government with a Bangsamoro entity next year.

ARMM AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO BANGSAMORO TRANSITION COMMISSION BASIC BANGSAMORO LAW COTABATO CITY HATAMAN HATAMAN AND DELES IQBAL IQBAL AND PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER
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