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Meranao Culture

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Inspiring Stories

Inspiring Stories
Inspiring Stories

ARMM to enact own version of FOI

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 23 (PIA) -- The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is contemplating on enacting its own version of Freedom of Information (FOI) law, through its Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA). 

Lanao del Sur Assemblywoman Samira Gutoc-Tomawis said the ARMM FOI is in the pipeline of the RLA legislative agenda. 

Gutoc-Tomawis, herself a journalist by profession, said she would file the regional FOI bill as an “essential element of the principles of open governance that is now in place in the new ARMM for the welfare of its constituents.” 

She said first in the list of a “must disclosure” in the bill would be public officials’ statements of assets liabilities and net-worth (SALN). 

She further said an FOI act in the ARMM would complement the reform programs that are being pushed by the administration of Officer-In-Charge Governor Mujiv Hataman, who also believes that it is possible ARMM to come up with a regional FOI ahead of the national government, in support to the regional government legal framework of open government. 

On March 1, 2012, Hataman issued ARMM Executive Order No. 7, which serves as the region’s charter of open governance. 

He also opened last April 16, 2012 a big online touch-screen portal at the ground floor of the ARMM Executive Building, which had been installed for unconditional public disclosure of information pertaining to the ARMM, and its officials as well as conduct of financial transactions. 

So far, only basic information on the regional government’s background and its officials’ profiles, have been uploaded for free-access public viewing.

25 students in ARMM now DOST scholars

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 22 (PIA) -- Twenty five high school graduates from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) qualified this year to a study grant specially catered to deserving Muslim students, officials from the region’s science and technology department announced early this week. 

Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-ARMM Assistant Secretary Abdulgalib Halud said only 25 of the 25, 600 applicants were successfully selected after a screening examinations held early this year for the Grant for Educational Assistance on Technology Teaching Courses for Muslim Mindanao (GREAT-M), a scholarship program specially provided to Muslim students by the DOST-Science Education Institute (SEI). 

Halud said the students will get the benefit of a full scholarship in their pursuit of any of the four-year science and technology degrees offered at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT). 

The scholarship program, he said, allows qualified Muslim students to study science courses in one of the premiere learning institutions in Mindanao with benefits that include free tuition, P4,000 monthly stipend, and book and uniform allowance. 

“We hope to raise the interest of young Filipino Muslims in the field of science and technology as well as increase the number of Muslim professionals in the same area through this program,” he said. 

According to Norma Dalamban, DOST-ARMM technical division chief, of the 25 scholars, eight are from Maguindanao, seven from Tawi-Tawi, six from Lanao del Sur, and four from Sulu. Recipients from Maguindanao have already signed their scholarship contracts after receiving an orientation from DOST-ARMM officials. 

Dr. Filma G. Brawner, DOST-SEI director, encouraged them to sustain the scholarship by focusing on their studies. 

The GREAT-M program was introduced in 2003 to encourage talented young Muslims pursue a career in science and technology and help tackle development issues in some of the depressed areas in Mindanao. GREAT-M has already benefited four batches of recipients. 

Brawner said GREAT-M helps students not only financially but also technically, setting it apart for any of the other scholarship programs offered by DOST-SEI.

BIR-Marawi tops 1st Q target by 16%

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 17 (PIA) -- A total of P94.51 million was collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) District 102 in the first quarter of 2012, surpassing its collection target of P81.58 million for the quarter. 

This figure is also 37 percent higher compared to the P69.03 million it collected during the same period of last year, said Revenue District Officer Aminoden Macarampat. 

Collections from income taxes contributed the largest share to the total collections posting P71.36 million, up by 38 percent or P19.81 million from the collection in the same quarter of 2011. 

This was followed by value-added taxes at P19.79 million which exceeded the P15.76 million collection last year by P4.03 million or 26 percent. 

Revenue from other taxes also went-up by 88 percent, from P1.59million to P2.98 million while percentage taxes climbed to P379,500, exceeding the P132,000 collection last year by 186 percent. 

Macarampat said the success in its collection performance was attributable to the intensified information tax campaign they have conducted. 

"Aside from carrying-out tax mapping of business establishments, we also conducted door-to-door information campaign and explained the benefits of paying taxes," he said. 

He added that close coordination with the Landbank and Philippine National Bank in the area, and with local government units, from the provincial to barangay level, also contributed to their positive performance.

Youth leaders gain Lanao del Sur guv’s support

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 17 (PIA) -- The Network of Meranaw Youth Leaders and Professional (NMYLP) got the support and commitment of Gov. Mamintal A. Adiong Jr. to further promote youth development in the province. 

The provincial governor expressed his support by forging a partnership with the network during the Provincial Youth Summit held in Achiever Convention Hall, last week, said Abulkhair Alibasa, chairman of the NMYLP. 

Under the agreement, the provincial government will work closely with the NMYLP and will provide for the operating expenses in carrying out youth programs and activities. 

NMYLP, on the other hand, will propose and facilitate youth programs and activities that are in line with the youth agenda the governor has approved during the youth summit. 

Alibasa said the youth agenda includes the creation of Provincial Youth and Sports Office, institutionalization of annual youth fellowship program, establishment of Ranaw Youth Day, youth exposure through educational tour, and conduct of youth sports fest, art war, photo exhibit, among others. 

The NMYLP is a non-government organization composed of Maranao youth leaders and professionals working towards promotion of youth in Lanao del Sur.

ARMM Watch launched in Lanao del Sur

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 7 (PIA) -- Civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) launched the ARMM Watch in the province on May 3 at the Mindanao State University (MSU) this city. 

At the same time, they also conducted the second leg of the provincial consultations to strengthen mechanisms for the ARMM Watch engagement. 

"The ARMM watch is a coalition of individuals and non-government organizations who want to be part of the reform program in Muslim Mindanao region," said Guiamel Alim, ARMM Watch regional coordinator and chairperson of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society. 

He said the coalition aims to look into the implementation of the reform program of every agency in the region including that of the regional government, national line agencies, and local government units (LGUs). 

According to him, identified priority agencies to be monitored by the coalition include the Department of Education, Department of Public Works and Highways, the Office of the Regional Governor, and LGUs, while attention will also be given to the implementation of specific government programs such as the Pantawid Pamilya and the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan. 

He, however, emphasized that the monitoring intends to lay down the foundation for good governance. 

“ARMM Watch will not just watch but will also advocate for good governance. We will use the art of communication and dialogue to plant the seed for governance and reforms,” he added. 

During the launching, Governor Mujiv Hataman, Officer-in-Charge of the ARMM, expressed support to the coalition. 

He said the ARMM Watch was the result of the partnership and the social contract entered into by the regional government and the civil society in the monitoring of government operations in the ARMM, including the LGUs. 

He further said that among the directives of President Benigno S. Aquino to him was to make sure LGUs in the region are functional, adding that a functioning government is the key to peace and development. 

Meanwhile, Alim said the ARMM Watch will also have coordinators and executive committees in the five provinces in ARMM that will serve as the oversight body for all the activities to be conducted by the ARMM Watch in their respective provinces. 

"We will be launching the ARMM Watch in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi in the next few days and conduct the same provincial consultations in the island provinces," he concluded.

CHR to uphold human rights in ARMM

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 4 (PIA) -- A Commission on Human Rights (CHR) official reiterated that the agency will uphold the rights of the indigenous and Moro peoples in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the context of their culture and history of struggle for human development. 

CHR Chairperson Etta Rosales, in a meeting with regional officials and representatives of Moro civil society organizations, said that for the first time in 22 years of ARMM’s existence, the CHR is establishing a regional office in the ARMM, on the persistent recommendation of ARMM Officer-In-Charge Governor Mujiv Hataman. 

Rosales said human rights would be upheld in the ARMM, not merely by CHR standards, but in the context also of the rich experience of the Bangsamoro in their history of continuing struggle in many diverse fields of endeavor, including socio-economic, cultural, and political development. 

"It is you, with respect to your rich culture and great history of struggle, that would uphold and defend human rights in the context of socio-economic, cultural and political development," Rosales pointed out. 

Rosales said putting up the CHR-ARMM unit has been “a dream coming true” that she, Hataman, and President Benigno Simeon Aquino III had shared in common since they first met as lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

Hataman, Japan aid execs optimistic of PH peace with MILF

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 4 (PIA) -- The acting governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said the government sees a major pact for a political settlement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) taking place during the term of President Benigno S. Aquino III, which will end in 2016. 

Officer-In-Charge ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said he was being “optimistic that they can come up with a consensus to sign a peace agreement, especially if it does not take a constitutional amendment.” 

“As far as the government is concerned, that is my feeling… And so also from the other side, we are receiving a similar feedback,” said Hataman told a delegation from a Japanese aid institution here on Labor Day. 

Dr. Akihiko Tanaka, president of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), met ARMM officials and MILF leaders in separate occasions during his country’s aid delegation visit to the Muslim Mindanao region. 

After meeting MILF leaders in Camp Darapanan, Tanaka said he shared Hataman’s optimism that a “new political reality” was in the offing, with the current development in the peace process. 

Both parties have noted Japan’s increasing role in the peace process, after hosting a meeting between the President and key MILF leaders in Tokyo mid last year. 

Hataman said President Benigno S Aquino III becomes the second President to do so, after his mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, met Nur Misuari to start the peace process with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) which he led. 

The meeting, Hataman said, led to the post-Aquino administration signing of the final peace agreement between the government and the MNLF on September 2, 1996. 

COMELEC to hold special village, SK polls in Lanao del Sur

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 3 (PIA) -- The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) will hold a special Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in the three barangays in the province next week. 

Lawyer Nasib Yasin, Provincial Election Supervisor, said the special elections will be conducted in Barangays Bialaan and Patong in the municipality of Bayang, and in Barangay Tulay in Madamba town. 

He said the manual voting will start at 7:00 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 12. 

Positions to be voted for are barangay chairman, seven Kagawads, SK Chairman, and seven SK Kagawads. 

Earlier, the COMELEC has issued Resolution No. 9405 setting forth the rules and regulations governing the conduct of May 12, 2012 special Barangay and SK polls in the three barangays, as well as in Barangay Lipat-on in Calatrava, Negros Occidental. 

The said resolution provided that official candidates for the mentioned positions during the October 25, 2010 Barangay and SK elections are the candidates to be voted for on Saturday. 

Also, all qualified and duly registered voters of the said barangays as of October 25, 2010 polls are entitled to vote in the special elections. 

COMELEC declared a failure of elections in the three barangays last October 2010. According to Provincial Election Supervisor Yasin, violence during the conduct of elections was the main reason why it was declared a failure. 

Piagapo holds 1st Biking Challenge to promote peace

PIAGAPO, Lanao del Sur, May 2 (PIA) -- In order to show that Piagapo is a safe and peaceful town, a 35-kilometer biking challenge dubbed “Biking for a Peaceful Piagapo” was held last April 29 here, spearheaded by the municipal government in partnership with the 64th Infantry Batallion, Philippine Army. 

Fifty-five bikers coming from the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, and Marawi, as well as from the municipality of Balo-i in Lanao del Norte province took part in the first-ever biking challenge held here. 

The bikers were given a unique opportunity to race through concrete roads starting from the 64IB headquarters in Saguiaran town towards some rough trails in Piagapo, going out of the town via Mindanao State University in Marawi City, and heading back again to the Piagapo Municipal Hall for the finish line. 

Amroussi Macatanong, current Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President, said the biking race was conducted to promote peace and development, not only of the town but also of the entire province. 

"We want to change the bad image of Piagapo. We are accused as the haven of criminals and other bad elements. Through this activity, we want to show that most of the accuses are not true and the bikers can attest to that," he added. 

James Rey Dimlo, winner for the yellow category (for ages 30 years and below), expressed agreement to the statement of the ABC President. 

“The road is peaceful and the residents showed their support in this," said the 29-year old biker who finished the race within one hour, 33 minutes, and 18 seconds. 

Other top winners were Steve Cadis for the blue category (age 31 to 40 years) with a total time of one hour, 40 minutes, and 56 seconds; and Alberto Alfeche for the red category (age 41 years and above) with one hour, 45 minutes, and 59 seconds. 

The top three winners belong to the Iligan Mountain Bikers Club. 

“This challenge is unusual to those that I have participated in before since the terrain here is more challenging. We will join again in future biking challenge in this area," Alfeche said. 

Macatanong promised that the next race will involve longer and challenging race tracks to make it more memorable and enjoyable to those who will be joining.