Councilors affirm Cotabato City’s inclusion to BARMM

Supporters gather in the compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in Cotabato City on Monday, 10 Dec. 2018, to formally launch the campaign to vote Yes in the plebiscite on Jan. 21 and Feb. 6, 2019 to ratify RA 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The ratification would pave the way for the creation of the new region that would replace the ARMM. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 July) — The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) of Cotabato City has officially recognized that it is part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), three years after the city voted “yes” to inclusion. 

The SP or city council finally affirmed its inclusion to the Bangsamoro region on Tuesday, July 19, in a resolution filed by city councilor Marouf Pasawiran.

The resolution advised all government offices in the city to use BARMM as their regional address. Another resolution of the city council also urged the use of the BARMM official logo in business license plates and official documents of the city.

It took three years until the city government finally recognized its inclusion to the BARMM because the former city administration petitioned the Supreme Court to declare null and void the result of the January 2019 plebiscite.

In petitioning the High Tribunal, former city mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi said they documented all the violence, threats and intimidation that happened during the plebiscite.

With the resolution, Bangsamoro Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, a lawyer, said that “this will take the sail out of her (Guiani-Sayadi) boat, so to speak.”

In December 2020, then Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Eduardo Año turned over the supervision of the Cotabato City local government to the BARMM.

He said the turnover of the city to BARMM is in accordance with the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL). The turnover also includes the 63 villages from six towns in North Cotabato that voted for inclusion to the Bangsamoro region.

Commenting on Guiani-Sayadi’s petition, Año said during a press briefing then that it does not stop the operation of the law (BOL), which has been ratified by majority of Cotabato City residents during the plebiscite in 2019. (Rommel Rebollido / MindaNews)