Press Release
September 11, 2012

Ghosts roam in ARMM, says Drilon

Following the revelation of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman about the numerous irregularities they have unfolded, Senator Franklin M. Drilon has only one question in mind: do ghosts prefer to wander around a poor region like the ARMM?

"In ARMM, there are a lot of ghosts: ghost employees, ghost teachers, ghost students, ghost internally displaced persons, ghost voters, ghost contractors, ghost gasoline stations, and many more," said its chairman Senator Franklin M. Drilon, referring to fictitious and non-existing persons and transactions which were used to cover up for various anomalies in the region.

"All of these contributed to the corruptions in the past which continue to haunt people in the ARMM," stressed Drilon, during the Senate Finance Committee's hearing on the P13.99 billion proposed budget of the ARMM in 2013 on Monday.

Drilon, cited for instance, the P1.6 billion unpaid premium payments, including interests and penalties, to the different insurance agencies particularly to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). These payments were deducted from the salaries of the ARMM employees, which the GSIS claimed were not remitted to them from 2001 to 2010.

"We must emphasize the deficiencies in premium contributions are the major source of continuing frustration and disappointment among government personnel including the thousands of teachers," added Drilon.

"Thousands of teachers sometime could not avail of their GSIS benefits like housing and salary loans because the premiums were collected, but per GSIS record, were not remitted to the agency," explained Drilon.

In a move to help resolve the issue, Drilon said his committee and the Senate Blue Ribbon chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona III will conduct an investigation on where these funds went.

"We will look into this to finally address the plight being faced by the thousands of government personnel in the ARMM," he added.

Meanwhile, the efforts and the political will shown by the officer-in-charge governor to eliminate these anomalies earned praises among the Senators.

"We have confidence in the leadership of Hataman. The OIC governor is our new ghost buster," said Drilon.

"We are pleased that under the leadership of Governor Hataman, these ghosts are starting to vanish and the corruption is being firmly addressed," ended Drilon.

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