Datu Blah Sinsuat Mayor Marshall Sinsuat and their municipal local government operations officer, Tulombai Ambolodto, show the special awards handed over Thursday by officials of the Bangsamoro government. ( / John Unson)

BARMM’s 'investment hubs' get governance citations

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (January 27, 2024)— Members of the Bangsamoro business sector were elated with the special awards for efficiency bestowed upon the local governments in the region's two new investment hubs on Thursday, recognizing the accomplishments as key factors that can enhance the investment potentials of both areas.
Sixteen barangay governments in Lamitan City, that of Arco, Baas, Balagtasan, Balobo, Bohesapa, Boheyakan, Bulingan, Calugusan, Colonia, Limook, Look, Lumoton, Maligaya, Malinis, Ubit and Ulame, each got a Seal of Good Local Governance, or SGLG, from the Bangsamoro government last Thursday.

The awarding rite, held at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in the regional capitol here, was one of the highlights of the weeklong commemoration of the fifth founding anniversary of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“That is so good. That can hasten our efforts to show to investors from outside that coming into Lamitan City for capital-intensive agricultural projects is safe and so viable because the barangays there and the city government are functioning efficiently,” the entrepreneur-lawyer Ronald Hallid Torres, chairman of the Bangsamoro Business Council, told reporters here on Saturday.

Lamitan City in Basilan and the seaside municipality of Datu Blah Sinsuat in Maguindanao del Norte province, which are among the more than 30 local governments that received awards on Thursday, are now touted as the two new investment hubs in  BARMM, both ideal for large-scale agricultural and fishery ventures.

The Lamitan City local government unit also received an SGLG last Thursday, its seventh since 2016, along with the municipal governments of Maluso and Sumisip, two of the 11 towns in Basilan.

Clarito San Juan, a senior member of the Lamitan City Business Chamber, and Mohammad Pasigan, chairman of the Bangsamoro Regional Board of Investments, separately said on Saturday that the SGLG citations that 16 of the 45 barangays in Lamitan City got from the BARMM government can boost their efforts to invite potential business capitalists into the area.

The mayor of Datu Blah Sinsuat, Marshall Sinsuat, had received from the Bangsamoro government a Salamat Excellence Award for Leadership, or SEAL, for his good management of their LGU covering 13 beachfront barangays that have vast mineral deposits ready for exploration. Datu Blah Sinsuat is also known as the fishing capital of Maguindanao del Norte.

Besides Sinsuat, Vice Mayor Nashiba Sumagayan of Taraka in Lanao del Sur, Mayor Salaban Diocolano of Kabuntalan in Maguindanao del Norte and Irene Galanto, who is chairperson of the progressive Barangay Borongotan in Upi in the same province also received SEAL awards that has a corresponding P2.5 million cash grant and a gold medal for each recipient.

The Datu Blah Sinsuat LGU also received then separate special citations for having passed BARMM’s Peace and Order Functionality Audit and Anti-Drug Abuse Council Audit, based on extensive evaluation by various government agencies, including the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
“Credit for all of these has to go to my constituents and our 13 barangay governments,” Sinsuat said.
Pasigan is certain that more investors would ask for an orientation on the business potentials of Lamitan City and Datu Blah Sinsuat town this year. 

“If inviting potential investors to come into Lamitan City and Datu Blah Sinsuat is a card game, we have the aces now to attract them," Pasigan said.