Aquino administration optimistic Congress approves a bill to defer Aug 8 ARMM elections

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MalacaƱang on Friday expressed optimism that Congress will approve the bill seeking for the deferment of the August 8 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections before it’s Holy Week recess on March 24.
 
“This is a time-bound legislation. We are hoping for best efforts to push it through,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a press briefing in Malacanang said.
 
According to Valte, President Benigno S. Aquino III, has certified the bill as urgent last March 14 which was submitted to House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte for the House of Representatives’s consideration after the people in the ARMM threw their overwhelming support to the polls deferment..
 
Four ARMM governors were in Malacanang Friday to present their manifesto of support to the postponement of the ARMM’s elections.
 Sulu Gov. Abdul Sakur Tan, Tawi-Tawi Gov. SadikulSahali, Basilan Gov. Jum Akbar and. Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangundadatu said their people overwhelmingly supports the move to postpone the ARMM elections and have it synchronized with the 2013 midterm national elections.
 
They also said that civil societies organizations and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) are throwing their support to the polls deferment.
 
“It is clear what the people want, a postponement of the August elections,” Sakur Tan said, adding that “it is time for Congress to revisit the ARMM Law and put it in the right perspective,” they said adding that they also support the “ no hold-over status” for incumbent elective officials of ARMM
and agreed that the President shall appoint the Regional Governor, Vice Governor and members of the Regional Legislative Council.
 
Earlier, leaders of both chambers of Congress, during the recent Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council meeting, agreed to defer the scheduled August 2011 polls and to synchronize it with the 2013 national elections.
 
The period from August 2011 to May 2013 will be an opportunity for the setting up of mechanisms which will jumpstart the implementation of reforms in the ARMM.”
 
The House committees on suffrage and electoral reforms and on Muslim affairs have approved for plenary consideration a
bill postponing the ARMM elections.
 
There have been eight instances of poll postponements in the AMM’s 21 –year history. Only the 2008 ARMM elections were held on the prescribed date.
 
The ARMM is composed of the provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur and the Muslim City of Marawi.