Marawi group to Lanao Sur Vice Gov: Be transparent

 

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur – A multi-sectoral anti-corruption group here renewed its call to the provincial governor to be more transparent to his constituencies during CANA-Scale Up’s training aimed at helping them boost their skill to launch campaigns and encourage more people to take part.

Nearly 50 members of Sautol Haqq (Voice of Truth) composed of businessmen, media, barangay leaders, women and youth participated in CANA-Scale Up’s training on community organizing and campaigning for local public finance at the Hayfah Palace last November 20.

During the training, Sautol Haqq renewed its long-standing challenge to Vice Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. to be more open and accountable in running the government. Adiong Jr., who reached the three-term limit rule on local elected officials since he first became governor in 2007, was replaced by his 72-year-old mother Soraya in the last elections. It was within Adiong Jr.’s third and last term when Sauttol Haqq filed a 25-page complaint against him before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged unexplainable increase in his net worth since 2007.

Sautol Haqq in its 2014 complaint had accused Adiong Jr. of exploiting his government position to enrich himself through "misappropriation", "malversation of public funds", and "receiving commission and kickback". They had also blamed the governor for the province’s worsening poverty rate, which rose from 38.1% to 51.4% during Adiong Jr.’s first term (2007 to 2010) term as governor. Adiong Jr. meanwhile denied the allegations through media reports, dismissing these as mere "political harassment". 

Sautol Haqq president Salic Dumarpa also claims that Adiong Jr. has never filed a single Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) since 2011. Public officials and employees are mandated by law to file their SALN for every year they are in office.

In 2015, as Sautol Haqq strongly demanded Adiong Jr. as governor to publish his SALN, a hand grenade was thrown at the house of its vice chairman and exploded. A hand grenade was also thrown at a local TV station where the group runs a public service program that exposes government anomalies.

CANA-Scale Up trainer Wilfredo Villareal stressed the importance of alternative and social media to launch campaigns for public transparency. Sautol Haqq appreciated this new learning, admitting that its members still heavily rely on traditional media such as radio and print. The group also learned the value of reaching out to and mobilizing small communities to work for a common cause.

Sautol Haqq plans to replicate its efforts in other municipalities in Lanao del Sur.

“For each municipality, we plan to set-up an organization that will monitor their own local officers. We want to start by educating communities about transparency and local public finance,” Dumarpa said.

Dumarpa also said they would maximize using social media and holding community forums in order to involve more people and share with them how local governance works.