Residents oppose BARMM bill splitting town into two

John Unson - Philstar.com
Residents oppose BARMM bill splitting town into two
Residents of Wao, Lanao del Sur took to the streets their sentiments over a proposal by a Bangsamoro lawmaker to split their town into two.
Photo courtesy of Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY — Hundreds of Muslim and Christian villagers in Wao, Lanao del Sur staged a rally on Thursday morning to show opposition to a proposal by a member of the Bangsamoro parliament to divide their municipality into two via a legislative measure that they knew nothing about.

Mayor Elvino Balicao Jr. and his 26 constituent-barangay chairpersons took turns urging members of the 80-seat parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the BARMM capitol in Cotabato City to disapprove a proposal by regional lawmaker Ali Montaha Babao to establish Pilintangan municipality covering 11 barangays in Wao via Parliament Bill 271.

“All of us in Wao are not in favor of that,” Balicao told reporters at the sideline of Thursday’s rally in the town center of Wao, touted as the most progressive and peaceful town Lanao del Sur, not too distant from Bukidnon province in Region 10.

Lanao del Sur is one of the six provinces of BARMM that also has three component cities, Marawi, Cotabato and Lamitan City.

Officials of Barangay Buntungan in Wao said Babao should have, as a legislative procedure, consulted their mayor, members of their municipal council, all barangay chairpersons and leaders of different sectors in their municipality before filing PB 271 at the 80-member BARMM parliament.

“We will not support BARMM Parliament Babao if he aspires for a seat in the regional parliament during the 2025 regional elections,” a Maranao resident of Wao, Saidamen Lalang Dimarin, said.

Balicao and members of their Sangguniang Bayan are contemplating on drafting a resolution urging the BARMM parliament to disregard Babao’s proposal to group together 11 out of the 26 barangays in Wao as Pilintangan municipality.

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