By ALI G. MACABALANG
COTABATO CITY – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim has urged constituent local government units (LGUs) to optimize regional assistance for moral governance after the signing of fresh memorandums of agreement (MOAs) for 31 more barangay halls worth P100-million.
“I hope you will maximize all the possible benefits of this ceremonial MOA signing for the welfare of our people. We commit to reach the inaccessible areas of the region and serve the underserved. This will only be possible (with) your pledge of taking a parallel path identical with ours towards peaceful and progressive (LGUs),” Ebrahim told mayors of recipients LGUs.
Ebrahim, popular as Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman “Al Haj Murad,” and BARMM Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua, more known also as MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) chief-of-staff “Sammy Almansoor,” witnessed the signing of fresh MOAs between Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo and mayors of five Maguindanao towns and of this city on Thursday, October 13.
The MOAs signatories for 31 barangay halls worth P108.5 million at P3.5-M each were Mayors Zulfaicar Ali Panda of Sultan Mastura, Abdul Rauf Tomawis of Barira, Salik Mamasabulod of Pagalungan, Umbra Dilangalen of Northern Kabuntalan, Midpantao Midtimbang Jr. of Guindulungan (ill in Maguindanao), and Mohammad-Ali “Bruce” Matabalao of Cotabato City represented by City Administrator Atty. Aelan Arumpac.
“The signing of the MOAs…is a manifestation of our commitment in our mission in providing our people better access to the services and facilities of the Bangsamoro Government,” Ebrahim told the mayors, pointing out that such thrust should “result in moral governance and inclusive socio-economic development.”
In a separate message, Senior Minister Macacua, articulated the need for cohesion between LGUs in lower levels and the regional administration for the realization of Bangsamoro government efficacy.
“We cannot achieve (meaningful growth) without full cooperation (with) and guidance (for) moral governance being (enunciated) by the Chief Minister,” Macacua said.
Walking the talk
Staff workers of Ebrahim and Macacua said that during their stints in the jungles fighting for self-determination for the Bangsamoro people, they had always overheard public officials harping about the importance of barangays being the “basic components” of government in need of adequate state supports. But such remarks were empty in reality, they lamented.
For Ebrahim, the trailblazing strides for construction of barangay halls are for real, not for “showing” or make-believe.
In a plain viewpoint, Macacua said the MILF-led regional government “really desires to deliver goods and services to the barangays.”
Macacua asked project-recipient LGUs to faithfully follow the guidelines set for the construction of barangay halls, such as the prescription for two-floor edifice with basic office sections bearing ethnic traditional motifs for uniformity across Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basian, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi provinces, the cities of Marawi, Cotabato and Lamitan as well as the 63-village Special Geographical Area (SGA) in North Cotabato.
In a jest, Macacua said: “Kung ang requirement ay police station, dapat magpatayo ng police station, hindi gasoline station.”
10 barangay halls per town/city per year
The massive construction of barangay hall buildings, believed to be unprecedented nationwide, is venture funded by the Office of the Chief Minister under its Support to Local Moral Governance (SLMG) being carried out by the MILG through its Project Management Development Division (PMDD).
According to PMDD plans, the BARMM government would construct uniform barangay halls for the region’s 2,490 villages at ten (10) barangays in each town or city per year starting 2021.
Records showed that 220 barangay hall buildings were already being constructed across BARMM, dozens of which have been completed and turned over for recipient villages’ management.
The signing of MOAs on Thursday, October 13, prescribed for 31 additional village hall buildings. Signatory-mayors were joined by Datu Blah Sinsuat Town, Maguindanao Mayor Marshall Sinsuat, who inked with the MILG a separate MOA for five barangay hall buildings last October 9.
The ceremony was held at the Bajau conference hall of the OCM building inside the BARMM government complex here.
The SLMG project is consistent with the 12-point agenda of the MILF-led BARMM governance, according to MILG Deputy Minister Abunawas “Von Al Haq” Maslamama, who was also present at Thursday’s ceremony. (With report from Noralyn A. Macabalang)