Turn-over of Cotabato City to BARMM is now in the hands of Pres. Duterte

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao- The control and supervision of Cotabato City by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is now in the hands of President Rodrigo Duterte, said a report by the Manila Bulletin citing BARMM Executive Secretary Abdulraof Macacua. 

Executive Secretary Macacua said in his Facebook post that the President had hosted a brief meeting among Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim and Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi in Malacañang to settle the issue.

According to the report of Manila Bulletin, Macacua, who is also a member of the BARMM 80-seat parliament, and concurrent minister for environment and energy, was also present in the meeting.

Mayor Sayadi spoke first, and DILG Sec. Año explained the background of the issue. Año suggested that the city government be placed under BARMM jurisdictional supervision starting December 2020.

Thereafter president asked if the proposal of Año is acceptable to everyone?

Sayadi presented first her argument, but later agreed with the “compromise,” the witness official said.

On the other hand, Chief Minister Ebrahim handed to the President the BARMM government’s official position paper about the issue, and pointed out his camp’s pursuit of the mandate of law, Macacua said.

“Nasa iyo pa rin ang decision Mr. President kung ano ang makakabuti,” Macacua quoted Ebrahim to have said.

Macacua said President Duterte assured all of them that he would study the issue before rendering a decision.

“Pagaralan ko ito. Siguraduhin ko sa inyo na mag decision ako ng walang masaktan at tingnan natin kung ano ang nasa Batas. Yon lang,” the BARMM official quoted the President saying.

The BOL was enacted in July 2018, mandating the establishment of BARMM in lieu of the 29-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), considered a “failed experiment.”

In last year’s plebiscite, the city electorate alongside 63 barangays in six towns of North Cotabato voted for inclusion in the territorial jurisdiction of BARMM. But Mayor Sayadi had filed a protest claiming alleged irregularities shrouding the result of the plebiscite. 

The result in Cotabato City has a wide margin of about 11, 000 yes votes for inclusion of Cotabato City into the BARMM (Source: Manila Bulletin)