NEW MAYOR. Cotabato City Mayor Mohammad Ali 'Bruce' Matabalao prays shortly before his inauguration at the Cotabato City Hall on Thursday afternoon (June 30, 2022). He announced PHP845 million worth of development projects for the city. (Photo courtesy of Jorine Ibrahim Said/Bruce Matabalao Facebook Page)

COTABATO CITY – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-backed elected mayor here has announced a whopping PHP845 million worth of development projects for the city as he assumed office Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Mohammad Ali “Bruce” Matabalao and Vice Mayor Butch Abu, both of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), took their oaths of office before Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“To the inhabitants of Cotabato City, the Bangsamoro, the settlers, indigenous peoples, and Filipino-Chinese, you will see the brand of UBJP leadership,” Matabalao said in the vernacular.

Matabalao said the BARMM government will fund for the projects to build more barangay roads, about 400 units of housing projects for indigents, a better drainage system to address frequent flooding, solar streetlights, seaport and fish ports, and government centers.

“This is just the beginning, more projects are in the pipeline as envisioned by BARMM leadership,” he said.

Matabalao said he will also request a formal government accounting of all transactions in the city since there was no formal turnover from the previous administration.

Moreover, BARMM Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said that with the help of BARMM, the city will be “cosmopolitan.”

“It cannot be very exclusive, it cannot attract investments, it cannot attract development if it ceases to be inclusive,” he said. (PNA)