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ARMM anniversary: simple celebration of reform gains, peace agenda

Cotabato City (November 17, 2015) - This year's commemoration of the anniversary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be marked with a muted celebration in the wake of terror attacks that claimed hundreds of lives around the world.

“Given recent events, we feel that it is best to direct our attention to expressing solidarity with the rest of the world that mourns over the countless deaths resulting from indiscriminate attacks against humanity,” ARMM's Bureau of Public Information’s Executive Director Amir Mawallil said.

Early this year, thousands were also displaced by the armed conflict in Maguindanao. They are currently in the process of rebuilding communities and transitioning back to their everyday lives.

Because of this, the executive committee of this year's celebration has decided to cancel a number of events, including the street dancing competition and tribal parade.

Mawallil said this year's celebration, no matter how simple and modest, will still highlight the history of the region and its achievements over the past 26 years. It will pay homage to those who sacrificed their lives fighting for the Bangsamoro people.

It will also underscore the agenda of peace and reform that Gov. Mujiv Hataman have set to ensure that the people will benefit from the regional government's services and enjoy life without armed conflicts.

"The ARMM leadership now has achieved many things that many were skeptical about in the beginning," Mawallil said. "The gains of Hataman leadership based on a strong reform agenda and its all-out support for peace in Mindanao are just some of the things we surely must celebrate."

Because of this, activities geared towards providing services and promoting a better understanding of Islam will push through, such as the ARMM People’s day and an exhibition of Quran readers who have recently won local and international competitions. Both events are scheduled on November 19.

Events in line with the celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace, which will begin on Nov. 26, are not also affected by the changes.

“The regional government feels that we should all continue our engagement in the ongoing peace process and seek a deeper understanding of the Muslim community, instead of letting the national discourse be swayed in favor of prejudice and hate,” Mawallil said.

The ARMM anniversary is commemorated every year in the month of November, following the creation of the region on November 6, 1990 by virtue of Republic Act 6734, during the administration of former President Corazon C. Aquino. (Bureau of Public Information)
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