ARMM election postponement
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas () - June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

I am going to divert the attention of my readers a little bit from the Spratlys issue for now.

President Aquino had spoken about his desire to postpone the elections in August 2011 in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). He got his wish with the support and concurrence of both houses of Congress, particularly the Senate with the able articulation and defense of the initiative by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile in the background, Senator Franklin Drilon in front of his peers, and Speaker Sonny Belmonte in rallying the Lower House to concur. The President was not tentative. He assumed full responsibility. He was on top of the situation.  

At the outset, I must admit that I had reservations about the initiative in postponing the ARMM elections. I provided space in my column for those who were opposed to the postponement of the ARMM elections to give them the chance to air their views. But since a national decision has been made, I agree with my husband to give the initiative a chance to prosper and succeed and convince our fellowmen to respect the mandate of the majority of the people who elected Noynoy into office.

Amplifying what the President said, we should give him the chance to implement what he said he will do to improve governance and the quality of life as well as eliminate graft and corruption in the poorest region of the country by selecting and putting into place the people he believes can help contribute in bringing forth the desired positive change to happen. After all it cannot be denied that the ARMM region has remained the poorest region in the country during the last two decades from its creation in spite of the billions and billions of pesos in government and external resources expended in the region. Sadly, the country became saddled with the unwanted erosion of national credibility among well-meaning local and foreign stakeholders, which to a certain extent, also precipitated discontent among the people of the region. 

He also said that the national attention about the issue of postponing or continuing the elections in August was focused more towards political hypes, and jockeying for political supremacy in the region. Nevertheless, it is not foolhardy to assume that one of the major underlying reasons and insistence of the President to postpone the ARMM elections could have something to do with his strong desire and resolve to attain an early lasting peace and expeditious sustained economic development and progress in the region. Though his position may be unpopular, he is consistent and decisive about the need to restructure the governance and management mechanism in the region in order to keep it in cadence and attuned to national policy and program implementation. 

He also said that good intentions are not enough. The decision to pursue and implement the initiative carries with it a heavy responsibility in ensuring success because if the initiative fails to produce positive results, it will take only a day for the people to make a verdict of a passing or failing mark on his administration during the coming elections. This prognosis comes to mind and jives by reading between the lines the body language of an infant administration which may be wanting in public explanation in light of the delicate nature of the peace negotiation, but which is rich in acumen and understanding of time and motion in translating into action the apparent meeting of the minds between the government and the MILF to end the conflict in Mindanao.

This is a much-awaited development, that when consummated, will need the immediate formal assimilation of former “adversaries” into the mainstream society of the nation by giving them the right of suffrage in year 2013 and beyond. 

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For the first time, the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) saw the swift movement of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill it has nurtured through past congresses. It gives much thanks to President Aquino for standing firm on his responsible parenthood principle that further encouraged the House of Reps and the Senate to debate the RH bill at the plenary level.

PLCPD, a non-government organization of lawmakers, leading proponent of House Bill 4244 or the “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2011,” and its Senate counterpart is grateful for the tireless efforts of  RH champions and authors who, despite the searing misinformation and name-calling campaign thrown at them by some bishops and Catholic church leaders, stood firm on their support for the bill.

PLCPD has witnessed pro-RH lawmakers’ determination to sponsor and defend the bill during sessions and public and media forums in both Houses.

According to Ramon San Pascual, PLCPD executive director, the RH bill has reached the most positive momentum in the 1st Regular Session in the 15th Congress. It is in this Congress that the RH bill has gained the most number of supporters coming from all sectors — business, academe, youth, women, labor, development agencies, non-government organizations, civil society groups, government agencies, local government units, media organizations and individual persons. 

It is also during this Congress that debate on the measure has become part of the public discourse which media relayed to the public, making the RH part of the daily conversation among ordinary citizens. PLCPD is thankful to the media, especially those who have organized debates in various forms, for making the public understand that in truth and in reality, the RH bill is more pro-life, more pro-family, as opposed to the claim of the anti-RH group.

With the broad public clamor, sustained media backing and the support coming from Congress leadership and from the President himself, the indications are clear that the time to pass the RH bill has come, and that time is in the 2nd Regular Session of the 15th Congress.  

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“You’ve got another feather in your cap,” the grandchildren of Dr. Lily Rosqueta Rosales said when they learned that their lola is the recipient of the Professional Regulation Commission’s 2011 Outstanding Professional of the Year award in the field of guidance and counseling. The kids are right. The award is the highest bestowed by the PRC upon a professional as recommended by her peers for having amply demonstrated professional competence and conducted herself with integrity in the exercise of her profession, participated meaningfully in professional activities, contributed significantly to the advancement of her profession and effective discharge of the profession’s social responsibility through meaningful contributions in socio-related activities.

The awarding ceremonies will be held at The PRC Awards Night on June 22 at the Fiesta Pavilion, Manila Hotel.

Congratulations again, Lily!

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