Photo by Hamdan Badrudin
COTABATO CITY – The 63 barangays in North Cotabato which voted to be included in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Autonomous Region (BARMM) during the 2019 plebiscite will now have their own municipalities following the enactment of eight new parliament bills.
On Thursday, Aug. 17, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) approved on third and final reading Parliament Bills Nos. 129 to 136 creating eight new towns in the BARMM Special Geographic Area (SGA), which will be named Pahamuddin, Kadayangan, Nabalawag, Old Kaabakan, Kapalawan, Malidegao, Tugunan, and Ligawasan.
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim has certified the bills as urgent, including it among the BTA’s legislative priorities for this year.
“These areas are not only special because of their location but also because, along with Cotabato City, these are the new or expanded areas of the BARMM, granted that we take the territory of the ARMM as our baseline. Hence, it is only fitting that we enact these bills as soon as possible,” said Ebrahim in his speech before the 80-member BTA on Tuesday, Aug. 15.
Ebrahim will appoint the first mayors, vice mayors, and Sangguniang Bayan members of the new municipalities who will serve until the next local elections in May 2025.
The creation of the municipalities will be determined by a majority vote of eligible residents in a plebiscite to be conducted simultaneously with the 2023 barangay elections.
The Commission on Election (COMELEC), through the Bangsamoro Electoral Office, will conduct and supervise the plebiscite, with its expenses drawn from the available funds of the Bangsamoro Government’s current fiscal year appropriations.
Under the bills, the regional government is mandated to provide financial assistance for the administration and operation of the municipalities each month until they receive their share in the national tax allotment, subject to usual accounting and auditing rules and regulations.
Composing Pahamuddin town will be the barangays from the municipality of Pigcawayan in North Cotabato, namely: Balacayon, Buricain, Datu Binasing, Datu Mantil, Kadilingan, Lower Pangangkalan, Libungan Torreta, Matilac, Patot, Upper Pangangkalan, Lower Baquer, and Simsiman.
Kadayangan will be composed of barangays of Central Labas, Kapinpilan, Malingao, Mudseng, Sambulawan, Tugal, and Tumbras, from Midsayap, North Cotabato.
Meanwhile, the barangays of Damatulan, Kadigasan, Kadingilan, Kudarangan, Nabalawag, and Olandang from Midsayap, and Barangay Dungguan in Aleosan, North Cotabato, will form part of Nabalawag.
Old Kaabakan will consist of the barangays Buluan, Nangaan, Sanggadong, Simbuhay, Simone, Pedtad, and Tamped, from Kabacan, North Cotabato.
Consisting Kapalawan will be the barangays Kibayao, Kitulaan, Langogan, Manarapan, Nasapian, Pebpoloan, and Tupig, from Carmen, North Cotabato.
Barangays Balungis, Batulawan, Fort Pikit, Gokotan, Nabundas, Nalapaan, and Nunguan from Pikit, North Cotabato will be included in Malidegao.
Forming Tugunan will be the barangays of Balong, Bualan, Lagunde, Macabual, Macasendeg, Manaulanan, Pamalian, and Panicupan, all from Pikit, and Barangay Tapodoc from Aleosan.
Finally, the municipality of Ligawasan will be composed of barangays Bagoinged, Barungis, Bulol, Buliok, Gli-Gli, Kabasalan, and Rajamuda from Pikit, North Cotabato.
With the creation of these eight new municipalities, its residents will now have the opportunity to have their own local government unit and elect their own officials who will facilitate the delivery of basic services from the government. (Johanie Mae Kusain/BIO, with reports from BTA-LTAIS)