Press Release
January 6, 2010


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP Laban) today said a period of cleansing and reforms has dawned on trouble-prone Maguindanao following the designation of Bai Nariman Ambolodto as acting governor of the province.

Pimentel said Bai Ambolodto's takeover of the reins of the provincial government evinces a sense of hope and relief to the conflict-weary and neglected people of Maguindanao who wish to see meaningful changes and lasting peace after the tumultuous rule of the Ampatuans capped by the Nov. 23 massacre of 57 innocent civilians which was perpetrated in their vicious bid to monopolize power.

The senator from Mindanao said this early, there are signs that Bai Ambolodto -- the first woman governor of Maguindanao -- will be able to effectively and decisively tackle the daunting tasks placed on her shoulders to put the governance in the province on the right path and undo the wrongdoing that her immediate predecessor had committed at the expense of the interest and welfare of the people.

"I am confident that Acting Governor Ambolodto will live up to the challenge of reforming governance in Maguindanao by weeding out corruption and other malpractices which in the past served as the biggest stumbling blocks to the delivery of essential services and implementation of development projects for the benefit of the people," he said.

Pimentel said he was pleased by a report reaching his office that after the acting governor assumed office, the employees of the provincial government - for the first time -- received their 13th-month pay on time and without any illegal deduction.

He said he welcomes Bai Ambolodto's decision not to run for any position in the May, 2010 elections. He said this is an indication of her sincere desire to put aright the running of the provincial government and to implement much-needed programs in order to make up for the failures and flaws of the ousted administration.

"It is heartening to note that positive changes are now taking place in Maguindanao. This appears to be an "unintended consequence" of the recent carnage and other horrible things that have happened in the province which hopefully have come to an end with the Ampatuan dynasty now under trial," Pimentel said.

In saying that Bai Ambolodto is the right person at the right time to act as governor of Maguindanao, Pimentel noted her background as a member of a non-government organization involved in community development. She did not come from a political family.

Ambolodto was became acting governor upon the suspension or removal of Gov. Andal Ampatuan, Sr. and other provincial officials after they were implicated in the Maguindanao massacre.

She was elected the number one board member in the defunct Shariff Kabunsuan province and currently the board member representing Maguindanao's first district.

Pimentel said the acting governor needs the full support of her constituents and the national government if she is to successfully fulfill her mission of reforms in Maguindanao.

Necessarily these reforms, he said, should include the dismantling of machinery for electoral fraud for which the province had gained notoriety when it was ruled by iron hand by the Ampatuans.

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