COTABATO CITY – Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. has praised the "bayanihan" spirit of the people in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as it goes "beyond the call of duty, even risking your own lives in helping each other".
Abalos on Friday afternoon led the awarding of the 22nd Gawad KALASAG Seal and Special Awards for Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Councils and Offices to 16 local government units (LGUs) in BARMM.
“It’s beyond the call of duty, everybody helping one another and I congratulate you and thank you. Your sense of responsibility and vigilance before and during all of these crises will always be known, will always be reported, and always be inscribed in our history,” he said in his speech.
In a statement on Saturday, Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-BARMM Director Hamid Bayao said he admired and appreciated the presence of Secretary Abalos to the activity despite his hectic schedule.
Bayao added the recognized LGUs have generally adhered to and exceeded the standards set forth by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“Next time around we expect to double the number of Gawad KALASAG awardees in BARMM,” Bayao said of the event held at the Grand Pagana Convention Hall here.
BARMM Ministry of the Interior Local Government Director General Khalid Dumagay represented the BARMM government during the program.
The “Beyond Compliant” award went to the town of Upi in Maguindanao del Norte, while those “Fully Compliant” included Ampatuan, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Guindulungan, South Upi, Sultan sa Barongis, Paglat in Maguindanao del Sur; and Parang town in Maguindanao del Norte.
Based on DILG records, the undivided Maguindanao province, before its division on Sept. 17 this year, also got a “Beyond Compliant “ award.
Also awarded were the towns of Bubong, Piagapo, and Wao in Lanao Del Sur; Lamitan City and Tuburan in Basilan; and also Talipao in Sulu. Basilan province was also included in the “Fully Compliant” category.
The Regional Awardee for Best Government Emergency Management and Response Team was the Jolo Emergency Rescue Network Inc. Plaques of appreciation were also given to the Bangsamoro DRRM Council member agencies as well as DRRM partners from both the public and the private sectors. (PNA)