GOODBYE, ARMM Hataman, 5,000 of 34,000 employees ready to leave

By Ralph Lawrence Llemit and Leebai Sinsuat Ambolodto

DAVAO CITY – High ranking officials and employees finally bade goodbye to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as they are set to be replaced under the new entity – the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

GOODBYE, ARMM. High ranking officials and employees posed beside a giant tarpaulin which bore the message: “Thank you and Goodbye, ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao)” during the flag retreat at the ARMM Office of the Regional Governor in Cotabato City.Photo courtesy: Haroun Alrashid Alonto Lucman Jr.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman were joined by Vice Governor Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman Jr., Social Welfare Secretary Laisa Alamia Masuhud, other regional cabinet secretaries and employees on Friday’s flag retreat ceremony at the ARMM Office of the Regional Governor in Cotabato City.

Lucman posted on his official Facebook account, photos posed behind a giant tarpaulin which bore the message: “Thank you and Goodbye, ARMM.”

ARMM was first created in 1989, by virtue of the Republic Act No. 6734 signed into law by the late President Corazon C. Aquino.

After 30 years, it will be replaced by BARMM, after getting a “yes” vote from the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite conducted last January 21 and February 6.

Gov. Hataman said in an official statement posted on his Facebook page, that he is thankful to the people of the Bangsamoro, the national government, Commission on Elections (COMELEC), security personnel and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) for the successful conduct of the BOL plebiscite.

“As we move closer to the creation and the installation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) that will commence in a few days, let us celebrate this triumph of the Bangsamoro as a people, and of the entire Filipino nation,” Hataman said.

The governor said that the transition towards a new government would be more challenging, especially with the recent threats occurring right after the BOL plebiscite, including the bombing of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Jolo, Sulu, that killed 21 people and wounding 100 others; and the bombing inside a mosque grande in Zamboanga City, killing two people and four others.

Welfare secretary Masuhud, in her official statement, enumerated some of the accomplishments made under ARMM, including more roads and bridges, teachers receiving just salaries, and updated Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) memberships.

“With 23 LGUs (local government units) awarded the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), earning  the number one spot in the entire Mindanao, and one of the top five regions in the country with more SGLG passers,” Masuhud said.

Commissioner Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) said that out of the 34,000 ARMM employees, only more than 80 percent will be retained, which are coming from the education, social welfare and health government offices

Lidasan said that around 5,000 employees are given the option to retire, with different economic packages, depends on the number of years they have served.

Government retirees are banned from applying after five years.