Landmark public consultations to pave way for the creation of two new municipalities in Maguindanao del Norte
September 16, 2023

MAGUINDANAO DEL NORTE—The Committee on Local Government’s subcommittee has successfully concluded a back-to-back public consultations on BTA Bill Nos. 190 and 191. These bills hold the key to the establishment of two distinctive and independent municipalities in Datu Odin Sinsuat namely Datu Balabaran Sinsuat and Sheik Abas Hamza.

The consultation on Parliament Bill No. 191, held at the Bugawas Covered Court in Barangay Bugawas, focused on the creation of the municipality of Sheik Abas Hamza. This entails the separation of ten crucial barangays, including Labungan, Taviran, Baka, Sapalan, Sifaran, Bugawas, Bitu, Kurintem, Margues, and Makir, from the municipality of Datu Odin Sinsuat, and will be constituted into one municipality.

Participants passionately voiced their collective call for swift action in enacting this transformative bill. Many shared poignant stories of their struggle for self-determination, emphasizing that this consultation provided a platform for them to finally break their silence. They hold firm in the belief that this proposed legislation will usher in the long-awaited era of moral governance and independence.

Subsequently, the consultation for the proposed creation of the municipality of Datu Balabaran Sinsuat took place at the 6th Infantry Division Gymnasium. This measure, outlined in Parliament Bill No. 190, involves the separation of thirteen vital barangays, including Tapian, Linek, Dinaig Proper, Tamontaka, Tanuel, Kusiong, Mompong, Semba, Capiton, Tambak, Badak, Awang, and Dulangan, marking a pivotal step towards their autonomy and self-governance.

In the afternoon’s public consultation, opposing views and insights were expressed and given notice. Various groups such as indigenous people and farmers believe that the creation of the new municipalities will open new opportunities for financial growth, while the Christian community and the teaching sector expressed their opposition as it will unnecessarily change the course of their current employment status and livelihood.

MP Baileng Mantawil, presiding officer and Committee of Local Government subcommittee chair, emphasized the public consultation’s commitment to hearing and valuing every perspective. MP Mantawil went on to commend the active participation of the attendees and her dedicated colleagues within the BTA Parliament, lauding their proactive role in championing these pivotal consultative measures.

Additionally, she paid tribute to the invaluable contribution of the security sectors, underscoring their unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of all those present at the venue. This event marks a significant step forward in fostering transparent and inclusive governance.

Meanwhile, Subcommittee Vice-Chair Atty. Lanang Ali Jr. extended his heartfelt appreciation to all participants and extended a warm welcome to local leaders. He emphasized that the bills are currently undergoing enhancements, underscoring the importance of the ongoing consultation process.

The deputy speaker urged the attendees to contribute by submitting position papers, recognizing the significant value of their input. He assured them that their perspectives would play a crucial role in shaping the final form of the bills.

“This is not a debate, but an opportunity for all sectors to voice their opinions and perspectives on the bill,” he said highlighting the inclusive nature of the consultation.

Other members of the Parliament in attendance such as MP Tawakal Midtimbang emphasized the importance of developing a community in which the youth are appropriately guided toward moral governance. He stated that the bill will aid in achieving that goal and in establishing a community in the spirit of moral governance.

While Deputy Speaker Atty. Omar Yasser Sema underlined the importance of going through the parliamentary process of passing proposed measures, and that the final word on the law will be given to the Bangsamoro constituents. He also indicated that the members of the subcommittee have no judgment or political interest and that the subcommittee is willing to conduct another round of public consultation if necessary.

In his final remarks, MP Mohammad Kellie Antao mentioned the importance of exercising the authority of the BARMM government to create measures to support avowed objectives, particularly in fully realizing self-determination. Owing to that fact, he encouraged the attendees to support the proposed bills.

The subcommittee members urged all involved sectors to submit their position papers on or before September 25. After which, position papers reflecting views and opinions will then be submitted to the Committee on Local Government for deliberation and consideration. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)

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