'FLOODED'. Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, minister of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Governments of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), says on Thursday (Sept. 19, 2019) that the office of Interim Chief Minister Murad Ibrahim has been “flooded” with many lobbyists jockeying for the position of officer-in-charge mayors. This has prompted BARMM officials to temporarily shelve plans to form the 63 villages in North Cotabato into four towns and eventually into a new province. (Photo courtesy of NDBC - Cotabato)

COTABATO CITY – Officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have temporarily shelved plans to form the 63 villages in North Cotabato into four towns and eventually into a new province due to the influx of “lobbyists”.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, minister of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Governments (MILG), said on Thursday the office of Interim Chief Minister Murad Ibrahim had been “flooded” with many lobbyists jockeying for the position of OIC (officer-in-charge) mayors.

Sinarimbo, also BARMM spokesperson, said Ibrahim and the Cabinet instead decided to create an administrative body to oversee the affairs of the 63 villages to ensure services are delivered to the people while waiting for the passage of a new law that will form them into towns.

Sinarimbo refused to give more details on the applicants for OIC mayors except by saying their applications are piling up at the minister’s office.

“The chief minister does not want to rush the appointment of OIC mayors and has expressed more concern over the delivery of basic services to the new BARMM villages,” he explained.

Of the 63 villages, 22 were in Pikit; 13 in Midsayap; 12 in Pigcawayan; seven in Kabacan; seven in Carmen; and two in Aleosan.

Residents of these villages opted to join the expanded autonomous region by voting for inclusion to the BARMM during a plebiscite in February this year.

North Cotabato officials have expressed readiness to turn over the 63 villages to the BARMM as soon as the latter is ready. (PNA)