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Cotabato City, Lamitan among winners of DILG good governance prize

A People's Day in Cotabato City. John Unson, file
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Two key cities in the southern Philippines recovering from conflicts and calamities have bagged the national government’s Seal of Good Local Governance.
 
Cotabato City in central Mindanao and Lamitan City, the capital of Basilan, both won the 2017 SGLG, according to an advisory from the Department of Interior and Local Government.
 
Lamitan City first received the SGLG last year while Cotabato City has also previously won a "good housekeeping" citation from the DILG.
 
Basilan is an island province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, where 19 other towns also got the SGLG for 2017.
 
“We are glad we have towns and a city that are holders now of the SGLG,” ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said on Thursday.
 
The ARMM, which has a regional charter, the Republic Act 9054, has five provinces covering a total of 116 towns.
 
Halima Satol-Ibrahim of the Cotabato City information office said on Thursday that the award will boost the confidence of investors and international aid agencies engaged in development projects in the city.
 
Lamitan City Mayor Rose Furigay said she is thankful to local officials and to the people of the city's 45 barangays for helping govern local communities efficiently, the basis for the SGLG citations.
 
DILG grants the SGLG to local government units with accomplishments in governance and with exemplary programs for communities.

Conflicts, calamities pose challenges

The cities of Cotabato and Lamitan have barely taken off from the adverse effects of armed conflicts and calamities in recent years.
 
Cotabato City’s economy was badly affected by the hostilities between security forces and Moro separatists that repeatedly rocked the provinces of Maguindanao and Cotabato and nearby towns in Lanao del Sur in 2000 until 2009.
 
Lamitan City, originally a fourth class town that became a chartered city 16 years ago, was devastated by security problems as a consequence of the Moro secessionist uprising since the 1970s and the recurring atrocities perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf.
 
Lamitan City is also among top 20 finalists in this year’s Galing Pook Award from the Galing Pook Foundation.
 
The foundation, a partner of different government agencies and cause-oriented groups, grants the award to LGUs that have innovative programs promoting peace in the local communities and socio-economic empowerment of marginalized sectors.
 
Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi said on Thursday that credit for the award is sohuld go to the city's local Muslim, Christian and Lumad sectors.
 
“Good governance relies so much on cooperation of constituents. Without their support, no LGU can even achieve its governance objectives,” Guiani-Sayadi said.
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