Where is Armm in the Sabah crisis?-A A +A
By Jun Ledesma
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
I OFTEN wondered why despite the seriousness and gravity of the Sabah issue that had and still is hounding our Muslim brothers in the island provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, we still have to hear even just a pipsqueak reaction from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Armm). It is heart-rending to see Muslim Filipinos literally being squeezed between Malaysian military and our own military forces.
The other day, Human Rights Commissioner Etta Rosales made some overtures that she will touch base with her Malaysian counterpart. The sound bites appear assuring but I have a serious misgiving about how the outcome will emerge. If the appeals of Malacanang to the Malaysian authorities for the later to treat Filipinos humanely have been falling on deaf ears, what can we expect this time from a nondescript CHR agency of Etta?
The Sabah issue should not have escalated to a flashpoint if those expected to address the problem took charge of it from its inception. Here, Armm OIC Governor Mujib Hataman should have taken a lead role in handling the problem. The buck should have stopped with him. But unfortunately even as the problem had already reached the present magnitude Governor Hataman appeared to be in limbo.
Being a leader of Armm, he should have taken the initiative to communicate with the Sultanate. Aside from being the chief executive of the Armm, under which the sultanate belongs, he too is a Muslim and expectedly should be knowledgeable in the ways and nuances of the local culture and the dynamics of Islam in relations to local politics. But he has not even lifted a finger or initiated a bit of intervention. There is something very gravely wrong here.
Admittedly, Mujib Hataman was able to bring some reforms in Armm government. But this is to be expected given the background of a corrupt, murderous and scandalous regime of his predecessor. But then that is another story. A leader should be able to face and address challenges that come in the way. The trouble hounding Sulu and Tawi-Tawi is just among the many. Hataman is a miserable failure on this aspect.
The problem with Hataman is that he is busy with his candidacy for Armm governor. His running, in fact, is an enigma to me because during the search for the OIC governor of Armm, one of the criteria is that the anointed aspirant is one who will not seek election on the same position. There was some rationale here in that being apolitical or non-partisan, he will be able to generate support from all quarters for the implementation of reforms that have to be established in the regional government that is so corrupt to the core.
His seeking for the elective post as governor of Armm partakes of a grand deception and that is exactly how many political leaders in the Armm felt. This is the main reason why Hataman has extreme difficulty communicating with political and even tribal leaders to include the Sultanate.
But Hataman can recoup his decency if he resigns as governor of the Armm at this juncture. In this manner, he will not be questioned for politicking and wasting government time and resources campaigning. In fact, had he ran for another position other than governor of the Armm, he could not have been badgered by his critics. And then political and tribal leaders in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi could have sought his intervention even if he does not belong to the royalty.
It is unfortunate that the Armm government neglected to listen and communicate with the leaders and its constituents in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi it is even worse now because the governor has become irrelevant especially on the Sabah crises.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 20, 2013.