MANILA, Philippines - The Senate Committee on Local Government will start conducting hearings on the proposed postponement of the August 2011 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., chairman of the committee, said the first hearing on Senate Bill 2756 filed by Sen. Franklin Drilon will be on Thursday.
Marcos said the initial hearing will look into the "true sentiments of the people of ARMM" on the bill. A similar measure, House Bill 4146, was passed by the House of Representatives before Congress adjourned last month.
Invited as resource persons were Acting Regional Governor Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong, officials from the Commission on Elections , Department of Interior and Local Government , Department of National Defense, Department of Justice, Philippine National Police, the Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace process and the Mindanao Development Authority.
Marcos said other officials from the ARMM region will also be invited to appear in the hearings.
The Senate bill proposes the postponement of the elections in five provinces and one city in the ARMM. It also pushed to give President Benigno Aquino III the power to appoint officers-in-charge (OICs) until new officials are elected in 2013.
Marcos said that it is important to establish the "true sentiments" of the people in the ARMM before the postponement of the elections. He said postponement of the elections and the appointment of OICs "mock the very essence of the autonomy of that region."
He added that the ARMM's autonomous status is enshrined in the Constitution and must be the basis for the consideration regarding the postponement of the elections.