Gov Catamco meets BARMM chief Ebrahim: North Cotabato ready for transfer

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COTABATO CITY — North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco has expressed readiness to turn over 63 villages in her province to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Catamco personally visited BARMM Interim Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim at Shariff Kabunsuan Complex, the provisional seat of the BARMM in this city, on Friday.

Catamco was accompanied by North Cotabato Board Member Kelly Antao, who solidly campaigned for the inclusion of the 63 villages into the expanded BARMM political entity.

Catamco said she expects a systematic and clear mechanism in the territorial transfer of the 63 Muslim-dominated villages in the towns of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pigcawayan, and Pikit in North Cotabato.

“Residents in these villages voted for inclusion to BARMM in a plebiscite on February this year,” Catamco said.

However, since these were not yet officially turned over to BARMM, voters in 63 villages still voted for officials of the province in the May 13 local polls.

Once transferred formally, voters in 63 villages will no longer vote for North Cotabato officials but for BARMM.

Ebrahim was elated by Catamco’s gesture of reaching out to BARMM about the case of the 63 villages.

He said once the BARMM new local government code is in place, these 63 villages will be absorbed by BARMM.

The new BARMM code is expected to be completed before the end of this year, according to BARMM Minister of the Interior and Local Government Naguib Sinarimbo.