BARMM funds town hall for Sibutu, public market for Sitangkai 

SIBUTU, Tawi-Tawi (MindaNews / 16 July)  –A town hall for Sibutu and a public market for Sitangkai are among the projects launched here on Friday and Saturday to bring government closer to its constituents, Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said. 

“We are giving you better facilities so that you can also render better services to our people,” Sinarimbo said after the groundbreaking rites on Saturday for the construction of a P24.25 million two-story municipal hall in Barangay Taungoh here. 

A day earlier, the municipality of Sitangkai, from where Sibutu was carved, received the check for the construction of a P15.5-million public market building.

Minister Naguib Sinarimbo explains to Sibutu Mayor Nur-Fitra Ahaja and Vice Mayor Alshefa Pajiji, the programs of the Bangsamoro Government on Saturday, 16 July 2022. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

Sinarimbo said the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) under the leadership of interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim wants to bring government closer to its constituents, especially in remote communities.

Sibutu  officials headed by Mayor Nur-Fitra Ahaja came in full force, including the barangay captains, to express their gratitude to the Bangsamoro Government.

“This groundbreaking event signifies a pathway of development that will open more road of opportunities for our municipality,” Ahaja said.

On Friday in Sitangkai, dubbed “Venice of the South,” Mayor Tiblan Ahaja expressed gratitude to the regional government’s choosing the town as a beneficiary under its infrastructure development program.

“This is historic because this is the first time that our municipality received such project from the Bangsamoro government,” the mayor said.

This is the second time that the MILG held groundbreaking activities in Tawi-Tawi since the province became easily accessible from Cotabato City, the seat of the Bangsamoro Government, with the opening last month of the twice weekly Cotabato-Tawi-Tawi flights.

Sinarimbo’s team also proceeded to Sulu last month to inspect projects there or grace groundbreaking ceremonies. 

Busy afternoon at the waterway market in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi on Friday, July 15, 2022, during the groundbreaking rites for the 15-million peso public market project. The market is funded by the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

He said the establishment of infrastructure facilities in remote or border areas of the BARMM with the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area) will drive home the point that these remote towns are part of the Bangsamoro, of the Philippine territory.

The creation of the BARMM is the key component of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed in 2014 under the Aquino administration after 17 years of negotiations.

The BARMM was created in January 2019 following the plebiscite that ratified Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the BARMM, under the Duterte administration. 

The Bangsamoro region comprises the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Marawi, Lamitan and Cotabato and 63 villages from six towns in North Cotabato, now referred to as the Bangsamoro Special Geographic Area. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)