By Ali G. Macabalang
The municipality of Talayan in Maguindanao is currently erecting its modern two-floor municipal hall building, courtesy of being latest recipient of enabling funds from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) government so far, officials said Monday.
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim alongside Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, Mayor Hadji Ali Midtimbang of Talayan, and other local leaders conducted the groundbreaking rite on March 7.
“The event fell on a Sunday, which meant that the Chief Minister and his cabinet know no weekends lull in optimizing resources and time for the autonomous region to come at par with progressive communities in the country,” Minister Sinarimbo enthused in a chat with the Philippine Muslim Today news lately.
In his ceremonial speech, CM Ebrahim said his administration is staunchly promoting stronger cooperation between the regional government and its constituent local government units as a bold step to realize swift progress among the Bangsamoro communities, according to the BARMM’s information office.
“We have already pipelined all projects of various (BARMM) offices (for constituent communities) to make difference in the advent of new autonomy,” Ebrahim was quoted as saying in the vernacular amid resounding applause.
He added: “We need to carry out fully all our programmed projects and other mandates in law. That is why we seek an extension of the (Bangsamoro Transition Authority or BTA) period.”
The lifespan of the BTA, the interim ruling body of BARMM, term winds up in 2022, something regional and national authorities as insufficient for the autonomous governance to build stable foundations for peace and progress in the Bangsamoro territory.
Sinarimbo said the proposed Talayan town hall is allocated P25.7-million for speedy completion “in thrust for stronger partnership” between constituent-local government units (LGUs) and the regional bureaucracy.
He said his ministry prioritized constructing modern municipal halls to provide the LGUs with permanent and decent “symbol of accessible institutional centers where people can access government services.”
BARMM comprises the cities of Marawi, Lamitan, and Cotabato; the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Basilan; and 63 villages in six towns of North Cotabato province. It has 118 towns and 2,590 villages.
In past interviews with the Philippine Muslim Today news, Sinarimbo said his agency has earmarked P25-million for construction of modern town halls and P3.6-million for barangay halls. But for towns and barangays with existing municipal and village halls, the LGUs may program such funds for construction of health centers and even firefighting stations, he said.
In the 2nd anniversary celebration last Jan. 18-21 of the ratification of R.A. 11054 that createdBARMM, Minister Sinarimbo handed over the initial parts of P25-million each to five towns for the launch of construction of similar two-storey municipal hall buildings in Butig, Poona-bayabao, Lumbac-a-Unayan and Sultan Dumalundong in Lanao del Sur, and Pandag in Maguindanao. AGM