Cotabato City—The national government has reassured the Bangsamoro region of continuing support to succeed in “every step of the way” in developing a better autonomy.
Interior and Local Governments Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. noted that the region had the “second-fastest growing economy of all the country’s 14 regions in 2021.”
“We converge for development on our own right; and we are with you every step of the way,” Abalos said.
Abalos addressed 154 award-winning local government units (LGUs) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) at the opening Tuesday of the Governance Day, essentially marking the region’s Fourth Founding Anniversary, which ended January 29.
Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim said the people of BARMM needed “to celebrate the gains of the peace process, from the organizing of the regional government to the milestone and level of accomplishments that we have reached during the last four years.
The BARMM region is now composed of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao Norte, Maguindanao Sur, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi as well as the cities of Cotabato, Marawi and Lamitan, and 63 barangays of Cotabato Province, now comprising a Special Geographical Area (SGA).
BARMM Interior and Local Governments Minister Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo said the Bangsamoro region was honored by the coming of Abalos, confirming on an earlier invitation to keynote the occasion of the BARMM Governance Day.
“Together in the past years, the Bangsamoro Government has worked more closely with you, not only for the betterment of our LGUs—but more so, by putting in place programs that you and the Ministry have implemented to help you to achieve the best in local governance that you and your people can proudly call your own,” Sinarimbo said.
BARMM’s accomplishments at LGU levels were hardly known in the national government, Sinarimbo said quoting Abalos’ impression during his visit this week.
Abalos said the country’s goals for the development of LGUs should be achieved, adding that he knew it for the first time that the BARMM was setting the “standards for a leadership that the Bangsamoro can look forward to” in “institutionalized” good practices at local governance.”
“I am delighted to know that Georgina Fernandez of Galing Pook Award is here and is working with you, and we can exchange notes here on institutionalizing the standards for leadership and practices of good local governance.
Three provinces of the Bangsamoro region—Basilan, Lanao Sur and Maguindanao (North and South)—were recipients of National Awards for Seal of Good Local Governance.
Maguindanao had majority of nominations and awards (10 out of 11) for the Search for Model Barangays (SMB) in Rempesl Borongotan, Nuro, Darungao, Kinitaan, all in Upi, Maguindanao Norte; Mao and Kaya-Kaya, both in Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao Sur, Dinganen in Buldon and Poblacion, Parang, Maguindanao Norte. The eleventh winning village is Bilaan, in Talipao Sulu.
Two municipalities won the Grant Assistance for Innovative Practices (LGAIP)—Paglat, Maguindanao Sur and Upi, Maguindanao Norte.
Forty municipal and provincial LGUs were recognized for Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC) Functionality in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao Sur, Maguindanao Norte Sulu and Tawi-Tawi
Sinarimbo said more LGUs “have now demonstrated capability in project management with the implementation in BARMM of the Local Government Facilities Development (LGFD) and Bangsamoro Local Economic Support Services (BLESS) Programs 2021.
They are now regional and national partners in implementing the construction of 220 units barangay halls; 26 units Public Markets; two Public Terminal; one Tourism Building; one PNP Regional Headquarters’ Building; nine units Municipal Police Station type “B/C”; and 21 units Municipal Hall Buildings; two units Legislative Building.
In the category of the Local Government Functionality Appraisal (LOGFA), four municipalities of Basilan were awarded; 17 in Lanao del Sur, 28 in Maguindanao; four in Sulu and five in Tawi-Tawi.
Eighteen Municipal and Provincial Local Operations Officers of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government also received National Awards: Provincial Director (PD) Ra-Dyan M. Akmad of Basilan; City Director (CD) Indira Patra Juani of Lamitan City, Basilan;
Municipal Local Governments Operations Officers (MLGOO) Pinky Macapundag, Rasmia Mamacotao, Norainee Guialudin, Zahara Sangki, Mohammad Jamsid Mosaid, Anisa Abdulkarim, Heria Dalantay, Edgardo Padolino, Leilali Limba, Toronbai Ambolodto, Hannan Ampatuan, Sittie Aisa Ocsio, Al-Rasheed Salik, Sylyn Pananggilan, and PD Amina T. Dalandag—all from Maguindanao.
Abalos said LGUs needed closer collaboration and coordination to manage complaints, even as they needed to “acknowledge that there is a problem.”
He said sustained communications will break barriers arising from complaints, but leaders should have the “patience to listen to all those complaints.”
“Some decisions may become unpopular, but you knew that it was the right decision (all along), and those complaints may somehow help leaders make good decisions,” Abalos said.