Cotabato City has formally entered the fold of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
And together with it, 63 North Cotabato villages that voted in an earlier plebiscite to be part of BARMM
“The city is now under BARMM. Its projects and programs now conform with BARMM,” Sec. Eduardo Ano of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) reportedly told reporters shortly after the handover rites last week at the BARMM Center.
Not everybody, however, was pleased with this. Mayor Cynthia Guiani said the inclusion of Cotabato City into BARMM was allegedly “railroaded” by certain people to subvert the genuine will of residents.
The BARMM is the outcome of extensive peace talks conducted between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) meant to put an end to decades of armed struggle by secessionists seeking self-determination in Mindanao.
Under the arrangement, Cotabato City will remain an independent component of BARMM with its revenues under the management of the DILG.
Photo: Ferdinand Cabrera