by: John Felix Miciano Unson

secCOTABATO CITY --- Regional lawmakers on Wednesday February 15, 2017 confirmed the nominations of three officials whose offices are helping push the Mindanao peace process forward.
The Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao gave imprimatur to Kirby Abdullah, Kadil Sinolinding, Jr. and Muslimin Jakilan to manage ARMM’s local government, health and labor departments, respectively, in separate sessions Wednesday.


They were appointed regional secretaries by ARMM’s chief executive, Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman, after his election to a second term in May 9, 2016.

A Maguindanaon, Sinolinding, a multi-awarded eye surgeon, and Jakilan, a Yakan from Basilan, had served in the same capacities during past ARMM administrations.

Abdullah, a Maguindanaon lawyer, was Hataman’s assistant in managing the region’s Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team prior to his appointment as regional secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government-ARMM.

Sinolinding is popular for his charitable works that began while yet a government “doctor to the barrio” in the 1990s.

He had personally provided free medical interventions, including surgery, to more than 10,000 eye patients, mostly poor Moro and Christian residents in central Mindanao and in the island towns in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The offices of the three newly-confirmed secretaries are among the regional departments actively involved in programs complementing Malacañang’s peace overture with Moro communities.

The ARMM government, so unique for having a regional charter, the Republic Act 9054, and separate executive and legislative branches, has current health, governance, infrastructure, social welfare and employment generation programs in support of the peace process.

One of the objectives of the national government’s peace efforts meant to put closure to the nagging now four-decade Moro secessionist problem is to restore normalcy in conflict-stricken areas through good governance.

The ARMM is a common bastion of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

Jakilan, a former commander of the MNLF in Basilan during the 1970s, has markedly been active in supporting the diplomatic engagements between Malacañang and Moro groups in the country’s south.

Abdullah, Sinolinding and Jakilan were separately sworn in to office on Wednesday by ARMM’s third highest elected official, Speaker Ronnie Sinsuat, figurehead of the regional legislature.

The regional law-making entity is also known as the “Little Congress” of the autonomous region, comprised of three representatives from each of ARMM’s eight congressional districts.