Maguindanao del Norte transition team prepares list of nominees for provincial board 

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 16 April) —  The transition team of Maguindanao del Norte is now preparing a list of nominees for appointment to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan so the new province can take off, OIC Governor Abdulraof Macacua said.

Macacua said there is a need to “organize first the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (also known as provincial board or provincial council)” because they need to come up with a plantilla of positions that will be approved by the body. 

He explained that since the province is new, there are no employees as yet until a plantilla is done and approved by the Sanggunian. 

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, Minister of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said the President shall appoint members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the two new provinces – Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur — upon the recommendation of the OIC governors, vice governors who were earlier appointed by President Marcos including the recommendation  of district representatives  of their respective provinces.

BARMM Senior Minister Abdulraof “Sammy Gambar” Macacua takes oath before President Ferdinandh Marcos Jr. as officer-in-charge of the newly created Maguindanao del Norte province. Photo courtesy of Matanog, Maguindanao del Norte Mayor Zohria Jo Saglayan-Guro

Republic Act 11550, the law that created the two provinces from what used to be one Maguindanao, provides for a 14-member provincial board – 11 of them to be elected: eight regular members and three sectoral representatives (women; agricultural or industrial sector; and from other sectors, including the urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, or persons with disability).

The three other board members are the president of the provincial chapter of the Liga ng mga Barangay, the president of the Panlalawigang Pederasyon ng mga Sangguniang Kabataan, and the president of the Provincial Federation of Sanggunian Members of Municipalities and Component Cities

The first set of members of the provincial board will be elected in May 2025. 

For now, Sinarimbo said, “it is necessary that the board members will be appointed as soon as possible because the appropriation ordinance will have to be created by the Sanggunian.”

Macacua also met with employees of the defunct lone province of Maguindanao who were transferred to Maguindanao del Norte a few months ago. He said the transfer was illegal but assured them they are “processing their transfer in a legal manner now.”

The MILG-BARMM is helping Maguindanao del Norte through the transition team. The ministry is providing technical assistance.

Sinarimbo said the new provincial board will come up with a resolution authorizing the governor to open the provincial bank account.

“Once it is done, the provincial government will communicate with the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) and submit the necessary documents to prove its legal personality like copies of oath office and assumption to office,” Sinarimbo said, adding all these are necessary so the national government can transfer to Maguindanao del Norte its National Tax Allocation share.

After assuming office, Macacua said he will reach out to other political parties in the spirit of reconciliation “even kneeling before them when necessary for the  unification of leaders.”

On Thursday night, many were surprised when photos of Macacua meeting with two members of the Family Alliance, went viral on social media. Macacua was seen meeting with Datu Odin Sinsuat  town Mayor Datu Lester Sinsuat, the husband  of appointed OIC Vice-Governor for Maguindanao Del Norte,  Bai Ainee Limbona-Sinsuat, and former Talayan Mayor Datu Ali Midtimbang, father of appointed Maguindanao del Sur OIC Vice Gov. Nathaniel Midtimbang.

Details of the meeting were not divulged.

Former Maguindanao Governor Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu has rejected her appointment as OIC for Maguindanao del Sur and protested the appointment of Macacua. She said this was a violation of RA 11550. She warned she would go to the Supreme Court if necessary to challenge the decision of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)