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Hataman sees bright prospects for Mindanao peace process under Duterte

 • 00:25 AM Thu May 12, 2016
John Unson
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman is flanked by his children in a photo session after a post election dialogue with reporters Wednesday in Cotabato City. JOHN UNSON

COTABATO CITY --- Now awaiting proclamation, reelectionist Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Wednesday said he is sure incoming President Rodrigo Duterte will sustain the southern peace process as a southerner himself. We are glad that he (Duterte) had announced he will tap Jess Dureza to help him handle the Mindanao peace process,” Hataman said, referring to Davao City-based lawyer Jesus Dureza.Dureza had served as government chief negotiator with the MILF, as press secretary and, subsequently, as presidential assistant for Mindanao during the time of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.Hataman, now leading by over 300,000 votes against rival Sulu Vice Gov. Sakur Tan, is confident he and his running mate, the reelectionist ARMM Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, will be proclaimed reelected by the Commission on Elections within the week.The autonomous region, covering Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, has 1,863,230 registered voters, but only about 60 percent of them cast vote during elections due to security and geographical constraints.
Sources from the Commission on Elections confirmed that Hataman now has more than 60 percent vote-lead against Tan, who is trailing far behind with only more than 200,000 votes, according to online tabulations, as of noontime Wednesday, by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.Hataman said he is optimistic too that Duterte, to assume the presidency on June 30, will also focus on the alleviation of poverty and underdevelopment in poor areas in the south.Hataman said he partly attributes to the Fourth Estate his popularity among voters in the autonomous region, as a result of the prompt reporting by journalists of his accomplishments in public works, social welfare, education and health interventions in far-flung communities.It was only during the time of Hataman, first elected to office on May 13, 2013, that reporters were given coverage access to procurement processes, promotion and hiring of employees and awarding of project contracts via public biddings by agencies under the ARMM government.Hataman told reporters, during a press conference here noontime Wednesday, that he will never persecute politically the local officials in Sulu who supported the candidacy of Tan. Pulitika lang yan. Pagkatapos nang election dapat may healing process na agad. Lahat tayo Bangsamoro. Let’s reconcile and move on,” he said.

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