Monday, August 08, 2005

Would the ARMM Elections Give Us A Revitalized ARMM?

By 11:00 A.M. this morning, it was reported in the news that 50% of the expected number of voters have alreday trooped to the polling lines in the ARMM Gubernatorial Elections being held today. Maybe I just misheard the news anchors but its quite amazing how the said localized elections had such a high turnout of voters.

There were times in the past that low voter turnout was such a perennial problem in our national politics but here today, the people in ARMM shows us how exuberant they are in exercising their political rights.

What does this development tells us? Maybe the ARMM is such a succesful political entity that residents there are so eager to put up with their elections? Or are they just so in a hurry to kick out the present ARMM administrators for making their lives more miserable than worthwhile.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao had been in existence since the early 1990's; November 6, 1990 to be more specific as the due effect of Republic Act 6734 during the tenure of the then President Corazon C. Aquino. One significant positive outcome of the institution of the ARMM is the secessation of extreme hostilities between the government and the then still-active Moro National Liberation Front, although armed conflicts remain a disruption in Mindanao as perpetuated by other antagonists of the government like the MILF and Abu Sayyaf. But economically, the ARMM region remains the poorest among the provinces in the Philippines despite the pouring of billions of funds from the national government. Under Nur Misuari, the most popular icon of the Moro movement in the south, the ARMM region still did not find salvation from the economic doldrums that it was in. It is like upon a place trapped in time, not moving forward and not even sideward., like a dead log.

Left and right, stories and hush-hushes of massive corruptions were everywhere. I once had an acquiantance working for the ARMM administrators and thru him, I heard such horrifying stories of shenanigans in the government like for example such official who had pretended to have his official vehicle crashed through a mountainside, using another old and crippled vehicle of course, when in fact he just took home the brand new Revo that was issued to him by the government. There were many other such narrations but it will take us from night till dawn to put them up here. I heard such other horror stories where a great number of government workers there does not receive their salaries for several months while the money is still in the bank being enfattened with interest. Sometimes the teachers and government clerks there received only half of their pay where the other half of their hard-earned cash goes somewhere into the pockets of unscrupulous officials who had become devoid of conscience not being able to consider that these workers need to feed their children also.
But lest I may generalize, these stories may just be overblowned but how I wished the new ARMM officials, after they are elected in today's election, would find it in their conscience to honestly serve a region already wrecked by extreme poverty. Let not mismanagement there make the lives of our muslim brothers there more difficult and miserable. I hope those who will win the ARMM elections today are heroic individuals who will aim and pursue to no end, and without rest or respite, the upliftment of a land and people that had seem to be forgotten by time and space.
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