All the 63 villages in North Cotabato that opted to join the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have started receiving infrastructure projects from the regional government, officials said on March 16, 2021.
“A 63-kilometer road network will serve as an economic generator that will see farmers of these villages bringing their goods to the market faster and cost-efficient than before,” Minister Naguib Sinarimbo of BARMM’s Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) said in a phone interview on March 16.
On Monday afternoon, BARMM officials led by Sinarimbo met with North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco along with BARMM-North Cotabato Special Geographic Area coordinator Kellie Antao for the groundbreaking ceremony of the road project and the construction of two-story barangay halls for the villages of Lower Pangangakalan, Lower Baguer, and Datu Binasing in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato.
BARMM’s Ministry of Public Works chief Eduard Guerra said a one-kilometer road worth PHP16-million will be constructed for each barangay.
“This year’s budget for infra projects in the 63 barangays is worth PHP1 billion,” Guerra said.
Sinarimbo said each two-story village hall costs PHP3.5 million.
“The barangay halls will hopefully improve governance as people will have access to their barangay leaders and the services that the barangays ought to deliver to their people,” Sinarimbo said, adding the projects are expected to be completed by December this year.
Sinarimbo said the BARMM, through the MILG, will group the 63 villages into five to seven municipalities and form another province for the region.
“We have to ensure that we will provide better services for our people, especially those on the far-flung communities,” Sinarimbo said, adding that this year his office has already commenced the construction of infrastructure projects like executive halls, public markets, and legislative buildings in various parts of the region.
For her part, North Cotabato Governor Catamco lauded the BARMM government for “prioritizing the needs of its people,” especially the 63 barangays that opted to be included in the fledgling Bangsamoro territory.
“Truly, the newly established government is the best example of good governance,” Catamco said in a statement Tuesday. “I am convinced of the sincerity of the Bangsamoro government. That is why I am supporting calls to extend the transition period of BARMM so projects like these will continue unhampered.” (Edwin Fernandez, PNA)