Transitioning to new Maguindanao provinces begins

By Ali G. Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – Authorities have officially commenced the processes for the separate transitional operations of the provincial governments of Maguindanao del Sur and Maguindanao del Norte, beginning with farewell messages among officials and personnel manning the erstwhile undivided province.

Workers led by Vice Governor Ainee Limbona-Sinsuat, serving as acting governor of Maguindanao del Norte, bade farewell in a kanduli (thanksgiving) ceremony hosted in Buluan town on Thursday, Oct. 20, by Gov. Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu, according to a Kutangbato News report.

Sinsuat and Mangudadatu were respectively elected vice governor and governor of the undivided Maguindanao in the May 9, 2022 elections. They both belong to the ruling “Family Alliance” political bloc.

The creation of the two provinces has been mandated under R.A. 11550, which was enacted in 2021 and ratified in a referendum on September 17 this year to divide the 36-town Maguindanao.

The law fixed the seats of Maguindanao del Sur and Maguindanao del Norte in Buluan town and Datu Odin Sinsuat town, respectively.

Maguindanao del Norte comprises 12 towns: Datu Blah Sinsuat, Barira, Buldon, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Matanog, North Upi, Parang, Northern Kabuntalan, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, and Talitay.

Maguindanao del Sur covers 24 towns: Ampatuan, Buluan, Datu Abdulla Sangki, Datu Anggal, Datu Hofer, Datu Paglas, Midtimbang, Datu Montawal, Datu Piang, Datu Salibo, Satu Saudi, Datu Unsay, Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun, Guindulungan, Mamasapano, Mangudadatu, Pagalungan, Paglat, Pandag, Rajah Buayan, Shariff Aguak, Shariff Saydona Mustafa, Sultan sa Barongis, Talayan, and South Upi.

At Thursday’s kanduli, Sinsuat formally bade farewell as presiding official of the 19th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the mother province, and announced their separate transitional governance effective Friday, Oct. 21, reports said.

Sharifudin “Tucao” Mastura, the top elected SP member in Maguindanao’s first district (now comprising the northern province), would assist OIC-Gov. Sinsuat as acting vice governor, the same reports said.

On the other hand, Nathaniel Midtimbang, the top elected SP member in the 2nd district comprising now the southern province, will be serving as OIC-vice governor of Gov. Mangudadatu, the same reports said.

The five vacant SP seats in each provincial government will have to be appointed by competent authorities, it was learned.

Published reports did not mention where Sinsuat and her new team would be holding office, pending the construction of required office buildings in Datu Odin Sinsuat town.

In a live broadcast at the height of the Sept. 17 referendum, Sinsuat said they had yet to scout for a lot to purchase for the construction of a new provincial government complex in the designated town. (AGM)

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