By Ali G. Macabalang
At least 220 modern barangay halls will be built this year in the Bangsamoro region to optimize the operations of constituent-local government units and catapult the new autonomous geopolitical entity to greater heights, according to proponent officials.
Construction works for 20 of the programmed village edifices are underway after Bangsamoro interim Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim and Local Government Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo broke the ground for three units in adjacent Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao on Saturday, May 1.
Sultan Kudarat Mayor Shameem Mastura and his father, Bangsamoro Parliament Member Tocao Mastura, joined the two regional executives in the groundbreaking ceremonies at Barangays Simuay, Gang and Banubo, with hundreds of village officials and residents witnessing enthusiastically, Valerie Lambo said.
Constructing high standard barangay halls “will ensure the presence of government in the villages and ensure greater access by our constituents to government services,” Lambo, information officer of the Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG), quoted Sinarimbo as saying.
All the 220 buildings, funded by the MILG with P3.6-million each, feature office spaces for recipient barangay officials and session halls for their sanggunians (village legislatures), added Sinarimbo.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) covers Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces, the cities of Cotabato, Marawi and Lamitan and 63 villages in North Cotabato. It has a total of 118 municipalities and 2,590 barangays.
Some of such towns and villages lack decent or institutional executive and legislative buildings in what critics claimed as a “grey area” affecting punctuality and efficiency among some municipal and barangay officials therein.
The BARMM government through the MILG will address squarely such governmental vacuum with remedial focus by building the needed physical structures alongside the recruitment of more than 100 highly trained local government operations officers (LGOOs) to guide the LGUs, Minister Sinarimbo once told the Philippine Muslin Today news.
Five BARMM towns – Lumbaca Unayan, Sultan Dumalonding, Butig and Poona Bayabao in Lanao Sur and Pandag in Maguindanao took turns in starting construction works for their municipal halls in time with the celebration of the region’s second anniversary last January of the ratification of R.A. 11054 (Bangsamoro Organic Law). The pace of construction works was impressive so far, a recent MILG report showed.
The MILG has allocated P25-million for each municipal hall, even as Minister Sinarimbo released the initial segment of the allocation to the five LGUs to kick off construction works on the commemorative week, it was learned.
In a recent Facebook post, Sinarimbo also announced the ongoing constructions of municipal police stations in Marantao and Amai Manabilang in Lanao del Sur, and in Datu Blah Sinsuat and Rajah Buayan in Maguindanao.
The cost of each municipal police station building was not immediately known, but the MILG released some photos showing the current stages of construction works. It noted a faster or advanced pace in the Rajah Buayan project implementation.
Sinarimbo said the kick-off rites on three barangays hall projects in Sultan Kudarat town last May 1 has brought to 20 the initial number of similar units already being built in Sulu, Lanao del Sur, the 63 North Cotabato barangays, in this city and Maguindanao.
The next 200 will be constructed within the year in all of the provinces of the BARMM, he said. AGM