COTABATO CITY – Local officials and various civil society organizations in Cotabato City and the BARMM Special Geographic Area have expressed their full support for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Local Governance Code, which will establish clear directions between the local government units and the Bangsamoro government.
The Committee on Local Government held simultaneous public consultations for BTA Bill No. 30 in Cotabato City and the BARMM Special Geographic Area on February 24.
In its fourth leg of consultations, those who participated in the consultation voiced their support on the proposed code.
The proposed 221-page code is divided into four books, such as general provisions, local taxation and fiscal matters, local government units, and miscellaneous and final provisions.
According to Member of the Parliament Matarul Estino, BTA Bill No. 30 will strengthen the supervisory power of the Bangsamoro government through the Ministry of Interior and Local Government.
The salient features of the code, including devolution, official qualification and disqualification, the distinction between local and regional autonomy, and the proportion of regional taxes, fees, and charges collected, were presented to aid stakeholders in understanding the proposed code.
In a message delivered by City Legal Officer Atty. Sahara Alia Silongan, Cotabato City Mayor Mohammad Ali Matabalao voiced his support for the passage of the bill.
“For local autonomy to be effective, it must amount to effective authority for local government units to decide matters concerning local affairs,” according to Mayor Matabalao.
“This public consultation is a proactive measure that will optimize our region’s future—to plan, build, and support sustainable communities,” he added.
Executive Director of the Moro Women Development and Cultural Center, Inc., Baina Samayatin, also supports the bill’s passage and emphasizes the importance of educating local governments about the importance of CSO participation in achieving transparent and accountable governance.
Mahatma Sangacala, a member of the Local Executive Board of the United Voices for Peace Network, recommends the inclusion of CSOs in the Local Peace and Order Council.
Duma Mascud of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party in the BARMM SGA said that after voting to join the BARMM, they had easier access to Bangsamoro government programs. He also lauded the inclusion of women in the provisions of the proposed code.
Charima Mentoc, the representative of the Bangsamoro women in the BARMM SGA, is also fully committed to supporting the BLGC.
She said that if the BLGC is approved, the constituencies in the BARMM SGA will have more access to the program, services, and other benefits for the Bangsamoro people.
“It will give us opportunities, provide enhanced safety and security, and other welfare that the LGU can offer. We are very thankful now for what we have in the Special Geographic Area, but with our proposals, we envision more transparent, just, and progressive governance,” Mentoc added.
BTA Bill No. 30 defines the list of essential services provided by the province, city, municipality, and barangay to avoid overlapping functions and responsibilities.
The Committee on Local Government will continue to accept position papers on the proposed code until February 28, 2023.
MP Kelie Antao, CLG vice-chair, said that the committee will start deliberating the proposed code in March. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)