Overcoming negative stereotypes and bad reputations are always things to celebrate about. The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has a lot to reasons to be happy – 19 in fact – after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) presented 19 of their towns and one city with the coveted Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG). This marks a record in the ARMM for the largest number of their local government units thus far to be deemed by the DILG as being run with proper transparency and accountability.
According to Minda News, this year the DILG has awarded the Seal of Good Local Governance to the ARMM’s city of Lamitan, the capital of Basilan, as well as 2 more towns from that province, 2 others in Sulu, three in Lanao del Sure, and 11 towns in Maguindanao province. They are, in order: Maluso and Sumisip (Basilan), Jolo and Talipao (Sulu), Calanogas, Kapatagan and Piagapo (Lanao del Sur), and finally Barira, Buldon, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Datu Paglas, Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun, Kabuntalan, Matanog, Parang, Rajah Buayan, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura and Upi (Maguindanao ).
The sheer number of SGLG communities in the ARMM for 2017 has beaten the previous high mark of the region back in 2011, where they had 13 awardees. The following year however, that number dropped down to only seven, and by the time of 2016 there were only six SGLG communities in the ARMM, which has had a long and sometimes exaggerated history of endemic local government foibles such as corruption.
Mayor Hanie Bud of Maluso, whose town is a first-time SGLG awardee, was quoted by the ARMM Bureau of Public Information as owing the accolade given to Maluso to the hard work and commitment of their local government for the betterment of their constituents. “Actually, this is also a challenge for us in Maluso, we still need to work hard for us to sustain the award in the following years,” Bud added.
Another LGU leader to speak up about the DILG’s latest awarding of the SGLG for the ARMM is Mayor Ibrahim Ibang of Parang in Maguindanao, which has been a consistent awardee even during the region’s “lean” season. “The people of Parang deserve this award,” Mayor Ibang said in an interview. “This is for them.”
The Seal of Good Local Governance was inaugurated in 2010 by then-DILG Secretary the late Jesse Robredo, when it was first known as the Seal of Good Housekeeping. The award was designed to encourage the practice of good governance in the LGUs throughout the Philippines. SGLG selection criteria include financial administration, disaster preparedness, social protection, and peace and order.
The ARMM is comprised of five provinces with 116 municipalities and two component cities, Lamitan and Marawi, the latter of which has been caught up in an armed siege that lasted five months of 2017.