Postponement of ARMM elections ‘most practical’

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—“It is the most practical alternative that the national government can adopt.”

This  was the categorical statement of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) acting Gov. Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong in supporting the calls for the postponement of the 2011 ARMM elections scheduled in August.

Adiong said issues related to the history of election violence and failures and on the ongoing peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic  Liberation Front (MILF) as well as the government, Organization of Islamic  Conference (OIC) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Tripartite Review of  the 1996 Final Peace Agreement should be fully resolved first before calling for elections.

Continuing with the elections will “only complicate unsolved social issues” such as the  absence of a negotiated political settlement with the MILF, aside from worsening the conduct of the polls, he said.

Postponing the elections, Adiong said, will prevent political violence from erupting in ARMM, where families and clans are dragged into feuds (locally called “rido”) that go on for countless years.

During the May 2010 national and local elections, eight towns in Lanao del Sur and two towns in Basilan declared failures of election.

Four months later, in what many believe is election-related, a former mayor of Tugaya, Lanao del Sur was killed  in an ambush.

On November 20, 2010, the vice mayor of Barira, Maguindanao was gunned down in Davao City.

His death is also widely believed as connected to  the recently conducted SK and barangay elections.

Because of these election-related violence, scheduled elections in the towns of ARMM  are declared failures, prompting the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to call for  special elections, like the June 23, 2010 elections in the seven municipalities  of Lanao del Sur. Albus D. Estabas


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