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DAVAO CITY - Two grandsons of Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr., the prime suspect in the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre, received awards from no less than President Benigno Aquino III for exemplary leadership and good governance.
Datu Saudi Sean Ampatuan Jr. and his cousin, Datu Tahirodin Ampatuan, also received P1 million each as they were given the Seal of Good Housekeeping from the President in a Davao City hotel Wednesday morning.
Datu Saudi Sean Ampatuan is the mayor of the Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, which is named after his father. Datu Tahirodin Ampatuan is the mayor of Mamasapano town.
The other awardees are the towns of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Parang, Sultan Kudarat, Upi, Guindulungan, Talayan, Paglat, Sultan Mastura all in Maguindanao; and the towns of Pandam and Panglima Estino in Sulu. Also on the list is Wao in Lanao del Sur.
Aquino was all praises for the awardees, the two Ampatuans included.
“From 2010 until 2011, at least 425 LGUs have received the performance challenge fund . . . It is but just that we give incentive funds to those who show exemplary public service. Congratulations to those who received the P1-million as part of the performance challenge fund this year,” Aquino said, speaking in Filipino.
The President also noted how the awardees followed the recommendations of the Commission on Audit in its scrutiny of the fund-use practices by the towns and provinces in the region.
“We salute your local governments’ compliance with the recommendations of the Commission on Audit. Let’s stop the practice cash advances, let’s hold honest biddings,” he said, speaking in Filipino.
The OIC Governor of the region, Mujiv Hataman, also noted the reforms in ARMM over the past months. “They have seen the positive changes in the ARMM. I will admit that our success was made possible by the support of all the governors, and other LGU officials. This is just the start of our campaign to get rid of corruption in the region.”
For Aquino, the state of ARMM affects the growth of the country.
Andal Sr. and his son Andal Jr. head the list of suspects being tried for the grisly death of 58 people, mostly mediamen, on a hilly side of the highway in Ampatuan town in 2009. THey had accompanied a convoy of Esmail Mangudadatu, political rival of the Ampatuans.