Tuesday, 25 April 2017
Maguindanao has new OIC governor
Written by Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews   
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 09:22
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 February) – Businessman Gani Biruar is the new OIC Governor of Maguindanao, vice Nariman “Ina” Ambolodto who retains her post as OIC Vice Governor,  Haroun Alrashid Lucman, secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s  Department of Interior and Local Government, said. Ambolodto was appointed OIC Vice Governor and was named Acting Governor on December 15. 

Lucman told MindaNews Biruar was appointed OIC governor on 23 February and will assume the post “starting today.”

“The key to his appointment is his being neutral to Maguindanao politics,” said Lucman.

Biruar’s appointment was immediately questioned as reports said his wife, an Alonto, is allegedly related to the Acting ARMM governor Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong, the appointing officer, and that he is also related to the Ampatuans.

Lucman said he is “not aware of  his (Biruar’s) relation to the Ampatuans, except that his cousin is  their in-law. Speaking of blood relations, everybody is related to everybody. Let us look at the brighter side of it. Gani (Biruar) was appointed by ARG (Acting Regional Governor) because nobody among the applicants fits the requirement of neutrality more than he does and that no undue advantage in favor of any gubernatorial candidate shall arise out of the appointment. There are no perfect decisions but we feel that ARG made a better decision given the present situation in Maguindanao.”

The late Saudi Ampatuan, eldest among the sons of Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr. and Bai Laila Uy, married Soraida Macarimbang Biruar, who is running for vice mayor of Parang town.

In Datu Saudi Ampatuan (town named after the late Saudi), incumbent mayor Saudi Biruar Ampatuan, Jr. (Ind), is seeking reelection while his wife, Jehan-jehan Lepail Ampatuan is running for councilor. Saudi Jr’s brother,  Saudi Biruar Ampatuan IIlI is  running for vice mayor.

In a press release posted on the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) website on January 28, Local Governments Undersecretary Marius Corpus said the search committee headed by ARMM Local Governments Secretary Lucman is “carefully pouring over the qualifications of some 27 nominees” for the position of OIC Governor until the new governor takes his/her oath of office by noon of June 30.

The press release added that among the requirements of the search committee is that “he or she should not be running for any elective position in the coming May elections; has the capacity to govern and ability to effect reforms in the province.”

Biruar was not yet on the list of seven applicants that Lucman sent to MindaNews as of 10:45 a.m. February 5.

Lucman’s list for Acting Governor then consisted of the following names:  Asnawi Sinsuat Limbona, Nariman Abdullah Ambolodto, Dr. Bongarsa D. Tomawis, Datu Harris D. Mastura Al haj, Bai Mompong Sumagka Mentang, Armando Lidasan  and Gumid Matalam.

Civil society representatives pushed for Ambolodoto’s retention as Acting Governor,  arguing there is no need for a search as she reportedly meets all the requirements: she is not running for any post in May, she has the capacity to govern and the ability to effect reforms in the province, and has in fact set up basic governance systems in the province since she has been acting governor.  Ambolodto was the first female Maguindanaon governor in history.

On February 2, at least 16 Bangsamoro civil society organizations and networks passed a resolution calling on ARMM Acting Governor Adiong through  ARMM Local Governments Secretary Lucman to “continue supporting the efforts of Ina Ambolodto of enabling the provincial government to respond to the  various pressing needs of our people and communities; intensify and optimize ARMM regional government agency operations in cooperation with the provincial leadership of Ina Ambolodto to address the displacement of our people as a result of fighting and natural calamities, as well as our staggering poverty situation; and retain and sustain Ina as the Provincial Vice-Governor acting provincial Governor.”

The Bangsamoro CSOs, all of them serving Maguindanao  – Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society;  Bangsamoro Center for Just Peace; Muassasah Ahliya;  Kadtuntaya Foundation, Inc.; United Youth of the Philippines-Women; Interfaith Cooperation Forum; Kangudan Development Center, Inc.; Alliance of Bangsamoro for Peace and Sustainable Development;  Bangsamoro Youth Leaders Forum;  Kadtabanga Foundation, Inc.; Al-lhsan Foundation;  Mindanao Homeland Development, lnc.; 4. Moro Integrated Community Development, Inc.;  Moro Women Development and Cultural Center, Inc.; Mindanao Human Rights Resource and Action Center – said Ambolodto has been “doing justice and according pride to the trust and confidence bestowed by the Honorable Regional Governor, faithful to the tradition of transparent and accountable governance.”

Guiamel Alim,   CBCS Council of Elders member,  was saddened by the report  of a new OIC governor.  “We are not yet ready for  change.  I am fed up how Maguindanao has been run in the past. I thought Nariman  (Ambolodto) was a symbol of change. I hope the appointed OIC would be able to plant  the seed of  change.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)