In Photo- North Cotabato Acting Provincial Governor Emmylou T. Mendoza turning over the symbolic key to the 63 villages to BARMM interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim during the ceremony at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex, Cotabato City

North Cotabato Acting Gov. Mendoza turns-over 63 villages to BARMM

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao— North Cotabato Vice Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, acting provincial governor, and other provincial officials turned-over the 63 villages to BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim in a ceremony at the Shariff Kabunsuan Complex, Cotabato City yesterday. 

During the plebiscite held early this year, the Sixty-three villages in North Cotabato opted to join the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). A historic event that never happened in the past.

“Please take care of our 63 barangays,” Mendoza told Ebrahim during the turnover rites highlighted by the passing of symbolic key between the two officials.

In Photo-North Cotabato acting Gov. Emmylou T. Mendoza delivering her remarks during the turn-over of 63 barangays to BARMM acting Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim

“To the 63 villages, I hope and pray that your transfer to BARMM would further lead to peace and unity in this part of the country,” Mendoza said.

ICM Ebrahim described the event as a new chapter in the once-solid Cotabato “empire” that stretches as far as South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces.

“Today, we see a bridge that reconnects the 63 barangays to its Bangsamoro homeland. Today is all about the people,” he said.

Ebrahim added that before the symbolic turnover, the Bangsamoro people had to go for almost two decades of peace negotiations with the national government, but on a recent note, experiencing the challenges on running a legitimate regional government.

The BARMM is the product of more than two decades of peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF).

The Bangsamoro Organic Law that created the BARMM was signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte on July 26, 2018. 

The BARMM replaced the decades-old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), considered a ”failed experiment.”

The new political entity covers the provinces of Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and Lanao del Sur; the cities of Lamitan, Marawi, and Cotabato, and the 63 villages in six towns of North Cotabato.

Of the 63 villages, 13 are from the town of Midsayap; Carmen, seven; Pigcawayan, 12; Kabacan, seven; Pikit, 22; and Aleosan, two.

“To our dear brothers and sisters from the 63 barangays, thank you for believing in us and thank you for believing in the Bangsamoro cause. It is my honor to welcome all of you to the BARMM and to welcome all of you — home,” Ebrahim said during his brief remarks. 

Meanwhile, in his closing remarks, BARMM Executive Secretary Abdulrauf Macacua aka Sammy Al Mansoor thanked Nort Cotabato Acting Governor Emmylou T. Mendoza for her contribution to the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), and her support to the victory of the yes vote in the 63 villages during the plebiscite in February this year.