Lanao mayors rally BTA extension call, rescind past stance

By Ali G. Macabalang

LANAO MAYORS NOW FAVOR EXTENSION. Lanao del Sur mayors’ league meeting on Tuesday. (AGM)

COTABATO CITY

The mayors’ league of Lanao del Sur has officially endorsed the campaign for extension in the lifespan of the interim Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governance, rescinding effectively its unofficial stance on the issue that once provoked debates in traditional and social media networks late last year.

Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo meets with Mayors Jimmy Pansar of Butig & Akhira Alonto of Marantao , both in Lanao del Sur in a file photo.

The 39-member league made the endorsement through a unanimous resolution adopted in a meeting in Marawi City on Tuesday at a time officials and workers of the BARMM parliament and cabinet agencies were holding here various events in the second day of celebration for the 2nd founding anniversary of autonomous governance.

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Alonto-Adiong Jr. witnessed the convening of the league’s meeting held shortly after the conduct of groundbreaking rites for the construction of four municipal hall buildings in his province and turnover of facilities meant to address COVID-19 pandemic in his province, BARMM’s spokesman and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo told the Philippine Muslim Today e-newspaper on Wednesday.

Post-symbolic ground breaking program hosted by Gov. Bombit Adiong for MPW Minister Ed Guerra and MILG Minister Naguib Sinarimbo.

League president Dimnatang “Jimmy” Pansar, mayor of Butig town, convened the meeting for him and his member-mayors to come up with an “official stand” on the issue about the call for extension in the three-year lifespan of the 80-seat Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim governing body of BARMM.

After a brief discussion facilitated by Marantao Mayor Akhira Alonto, the league unanimously passed the resolution “supporting” Congressional proceedings meant to postpone the 2022 election of the 80 regular members of BARMM parliament to extend the current term of President Duterte-appointed BTA members up to 2025, Sinarimbo said.

As of last month, at least four bills have been filed for the purpose in Congress by Maguindanao Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez and Deputy Speaker Isidro Ungab of Davao City. Mangudadatu earlier said three concerned House committees have launched meetings as well as consultations to synergize the four bills, and aired optimism for the passage of a harmonized version this year.

Tuesday’s resolution effectively rescinded views of Lanao Sur mayors aired in a Nov. 11, 2020 meeting purportedly signifying negative sentiments about the call for BTA transition extension. Gov. Adiong, who was quoted as one of sources in one published report, clarified earlier that the mayors’ league had not made any formal stand yet until its passage of resolution Tuesday.

Mayors Pansar and Alonto, in an interview here with the Philippine Muslim Today last December, corroborated the governor’s statement, saying all mayors in Lanao del Sur and their provincial leaders had initiated “no effort to resent the extension call.”

In his Facebook post, Minister Sinarimbo thanked Governor Adiong “for generously hosting the provincial activities of the different ministries of the Bangsamoro Government in connection with the commemoration of the 2nd Founding Anniversary of the Bangsamoro Government.”

“It was a full day for us,” Sinarimbo said, referring to Tuesday, during which the governor received him and BARMM Public Works Minister Ed Guerra in breaking grounds for the construction of four-floor municipal hall edifices in Butig, Sultan Dumalondong, Poona Bayabao, and Lumbaca Unayan  worth P25-million each from the Ministry of Interior and Local Government’s (MILG’s) budget.

Sinarimbo said the BARMM government on the same day turned over to the Integrated Provincial Health Office the “completed” 100-bed COVID-19 Isolation Center built in Marawi City and a similar building on the same capacity for the Dr. Serapio Montañer Hospital serving as district health facility in Malabang coastal town.

The momentum in Tuesday field events in Lanao del Sur, all forming as part of the BARMM 2nd founding anniversary, was highlighted by the mayors’ resolution endorsing officially the BTA transition extension call. (AGM)

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