SPECIAL GEOGRAPHIC AREA―As the series of public consultations for the Bangsamoro Electoral Code (BEC) continue, constituents in the Special Geographic Area (SGA) came into full force in the public consultation held Thursday, Jan. 19, in Midsayap town.
SGA is composed of 63 former areas or barangays carved out of Cotabato Province and became official territories of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) after a successful plebiscite in 2019.
Initially, there were 67 barangays that asked for inclusion in the new autonomous government during the ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) but only 63 barangays made it to the final list which were clustered into eight and later known as SGA.
“The BARMM Special Geographic Area came into full force,” said Bangsamoro Parliament Floor Leader Atty. Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, further stresssing that all clusters were well-represented.
During the event, representatives from local and barangay government units, as well as government agencies, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, and other relevant stakeholders proactively joined in the electoral code consultation.
The proposed code also gained support from Midsayap town mayor Rolando Sacdalan who hopes for the bill’s immediate passage.
Sacdalan said that BOL is a reflection of the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people and he is confident that those barangays under the BARMM SGA that joined the Bangsamoro region are in good hands.
Though the electoral code is still pending in the regional parliament, the Government of the Day has already filed bills seeking the creation of cluster municipalities in SGA—an indication that the regional government is keen to fulfill its promise when these areas joined the new autonomous region.
Under the proposed measures, the 63 SGA villages located in the towns of Pikit, Midsayap, Aleosan, Pigcawayan, Kabacan, and Carmen in North Cotabato will be separated from their mother municipalities and constituted into a distinct and independent municipalities.
The Committee on Rules, chaired by Floor Leader Atty. Dumama-Alba, will hold another round of public consultations in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, and Del Norte in the following weeks. (Abdullah Matucan/BIO with reports from LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)