By Ali G. Macabalang
The Bangsamoro autonomous government has launched works for 63-kilometer concrete roads for 63 barangays in North Cotabato that opted for inclusion in regional autonomy in 2019, even as host officials hailed the development intervention as a “rewarding fruit of critical decision” by resident-electorates.
North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco welcomed and joined Regional Ministers Naguib Sinarimbo (Interior and Local Government) and Eduard Guerra (Public Works) in the ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony on March 15 for the road concreting efforts allotted with a total of 1.008-billion pesos at P16-million per kilometer, it was learned.
The officials stage similar groundbreaking for the construction of three modern two-floor village halls for barangays Lower Pangangakalan, Lower Baguer, and Datu Binasing, all also of Pigcawayan. Each barangay hall will cost P3.6-million, according to Minister Sinarimbo
Pigcawayan is one of six North Cotabato towns where residents in 63 villages voted for inclusion in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in a plebiscite on Feb. 6, 2019. The four other towns that allowed some of the component barangays to be included as part of BARMM are Aleosan, Midasayap, Kabacan, Carmen and Pikit.
The same officials also kicked off the mass planting of trees along all would-be paved roads spanning 63 kilometers, according to Minister Sinarimbo.
Gov. Catamco, in her speech at a reception meeting, lauded the BARMM government for providing priority to her mostly Moro constituents in the 63 villages in reciprocation to their option for regional autonomy inclusion, on one hand, for exemplifying itself as an avenue of “good governance.”
“Truly, the newly established government is the best example of a good governance,” Catamco said, adding that her confidence in the regional regime was once factor inspiring her in rallying the current call for an extension in the term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the BARMM’s interim ruling body.
The 63 villages have been clustered into geographic areas supervised by North Cotabato Board Member Kelly Antao under the direct watch of Minister Sinarimbo’s ministry
Ministers Guerra and Sinarimbo said Monday’s projects’ launch pursued marching orders from BARMM interim Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim for synergized development efforts in barangays being the government’s basic units.
Guerra, an architect by profession, said the road concreting project covers 63 kilometers earmarked at one kilometer per recipient village with regular fund allocation through his ministry, and will promote faster transport movements of residents and goods to market centers.
Good road networks would also hasten movements of government security forces in maintaining peace and securing rural communities from both petty and organized crimes, according to Guerra’s Technical Director Danilo Ong.
Minister Sinarimbo said the Chief Minister’s office has provided utmost support for his ministry to equip villages with decent barangay halls and health centers, and recruit highly trained local government operations officers (LGOOs) to guide elected resident officials in the conduct of ideal bureaucratic operations.
“We will ensure that we provide better services for our people, especially those on the far flung communities,” said Sinarimbo, who appreciated the attendance of Gov. Catamco, Pigcawayan Mayor Janjan Roquero , and Army Gen. Capulong of the 602 Infantry Brigade at Monday’s event.
In earlier interviews by the Philippine Muslim Today news, lawyer Sinarimbo said those BARMM towns and villages with existing decent municipal and barangays halls will be allowed to program their regional allocations for other vital infrastructure facilities such as health centers and even firefighting stations.
BARMM, which absorbed the five provinces and three cities in the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), now covers 118 municipalities and 2,590 villages including those of 37 villages in this city and 63 in North Cotabato. AGM