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Sunday, January 22, 2017

ARMM officials respond to Sulu complaints

SULU - Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Muslim autonomous region inspected various unfinished government projects in Sulu province following complaints by former governor Sakur Tan in a letter he sent to President Rodrigo Duterte. 
Tan, an influential political and respected leader, also sent a copy of his complaints to Hataman’s office. And among the unfinished projects were schools, hospitals and roads and other infrastructures built in 2013 and many of these were allegedly sub-standards or did not meet government quality. 
Hataman went to Sulu along with his deputy governor Haroun Alrashid Lucman Jr., Health Secretary Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, Public Works Secretary Engr. Don Mustapha Loong and Education Assistant Secretary Alfhadar Pajiji and met with Vice Governor Nurunisah Tan and other provincial officials, including Tan. 
Tan claimed that Sulu was supposed to get funding from the autonomous government for 328 classrooms in 2013 alone. But Loong said that based on his data, only 42 classrooms were given fund by the Department of Education Central Office in Manila amounting to P26 million pesos for the whole province. 
Pajiji also said the implementation of the projects in Sulu, particularly classrooms and school building in different towns here, was delayed because the budget for the projects is still with the Department of Education Central Office. This was also confirmed by Hataman, who said the 2013 budget for additional classrooms in the region is with the Department of Education in Manila and has not been forwarded to the regional government. 
Sinolinding, for his part, sadly said some P10 million funds for the construction of the Maimbung Municipal Hospital under the so-called Health Facilities Enhancement Program funded by the Transition Investment Support Program - Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was stopped after the Supreme Court ruled that the DAP was unconstitutional. 
But he was quick in saying that some P6.7 million was already forwarded to the Integrated Provincial Hospital in Sulu and the remaining would be funded through the General Appropriations Act. 
Lucman, who is also the Social Welfare secretary, said the housing projects for the poor being carried out by the Habitat for Humanity Philippines is also in the hands of officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Central Office in Manila. “It could only be answered by the DSWD Central Office since the project underwent national bidding,” he said.
Loong said at least 10 projects from the Basic Education Facilities Fund were forwarded to his office as part of “Batch 2” list amounting to P17 million for Sulu in 2013 and that all had been completed. He did not say what projects were completed.   
In a meeting with Sulu officials and other stakeholders hosted by the vice governor, Hataman listened to the sentiments and complaints regarding the projects. “I came here to listen to the sentiments of our people and respond to your questions with my cabinet secretaries,” Hataman said. 
Hataman said he will order regional officials to have prior coordination with local government units before project implementation can commence. He also plans to establish nursery facilities for every local government unit in the region jumpstart agricultural programs, among others, to help local farmers and fishermen. 
He said the Social Welfare, Health and Agriculture departments will work in close coordination with local governments to improve efficiency in the delivery of basic social services and implementation of livelihood programs. 
For his part, the former governor, thanked Hataman for taking the report on a positive note and Tan also ran a power point presentation documenting the various projects of the regional government stipulated in his letter to Duterte. 
“My letter is not about fault finding, it is about service. In my capacity as a taxpayer and with close affiliation with elected government officials, I am watchful with the affairs of the province. Maybe what is reported to RG (Regional Governor Hataman) is that project is completed, but in reality, project is nonexistent. The goal is for RG Hataman to be properly informed on the status of these ARMM projects.” 
“We are helping the regional government monitor the projects of the government under the regional governor’s leadership because this is not a matter of fault finding; my intent is to help the regional governor,” Tan pointed out during a forum at the Capitol attended by Hataman’s party and mayors and other local officials. 
Hataman said he appreciated the concern of Sulu and said “rest assured that the ARMM government is very transparent, and we are very willing to be rectified.”

After the forum, Hataman led the turn-over ceremony of the P30-million Sagay-Sagay water system in Talipao town. Manis Baluan, 77 year-old resident of Buntod village, said that with the new water supply system, they will now have safe and clean drinking water.

"I was born and raised here, but this is the first time that a project like this was implemented in our barangay," Baluan said. (Mindanao Examiner)

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