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Senate panel OK of Maguindanao division into 2 provinces lauded

MAGUINDANAO (2nd District) Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu welcomed Monday’s approval by the Senate committee on Local government of its counterpart a bill seeking to divide Maguindanao into Northern and Southern Maguindanao.

Mangudadatu lauded the panel chaired by Sen. Francis Tolentino that approved the measure pending the recommendation by the Technical Working Group (TWG) in determining the center of government in the “would-be” Southern Maguindanao.

He recalled that his House Bill (HB) 6413, which has successfully hurdled its third and final reading in the House of Representatives, clearly stated that Buluan will be the provincial seat of government for the South while Datu Odin Sinsuat will represent the North.

Tolentino said that after the recommendation of the TWG, a committee report will be submitted to the plenary and it will be used as basis whether for a bicameral meeting and or if the house measure is approved and be an enabling law.

HB 6413 is sponsored by Mangudadatu along with Tarlac Rep. Noel Villanueva and Maguindanao 1st District Rep. Datu Roonie Sinsuat Sr. while Senate Bill (SB) Nos. 1714 and 1824, on the other hand, were filed by Sen. Cynthia Villar and Tolentino respectively.

In his manifestation to the Senate committee on local government, Mangudadatu urged the Senate leadership to support HB 6413 by adopting a substitute bill following the content and design of HB 6413 and SB 1714 and 1824 in respect to SB 1274 filed by Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr.

All three legislations similarly seeks the creation of Northern and Southern Maguindanao Provinces – including naming Buluan and Datu Odin Sinsuat as seats of government, while SB 1274 filed by Revilla pursues the creation of Western Maguindanao instead.

“While we respect and appreciate Sen. Revilla for sponsoring and filing respective counterpart Senate Bill towards the realization of a separate but better capacitated and empowered Maguindanao, we would like to request Sen. Tolentino, our Committee Chair, that our prayers and provisions illustrated in HB 6413 be adopted in a substitute bill,” said Mangudadatu.

The lawmaker added that SB 1274 aims for the creation of the province of Western Maguindanao from the existing province of Maguindanao instead of the separate provinces of Northern and Southern Maguindanao as espoused by HB 6413 and SB 1714 and 1824.

Mangudadatu said that with a smaller province, local resource management and the delivery of basic public services will be more efficient as the majority of the local government officials and employees will work and focus on programs that will best serve the interests of their constituent.

“As the cliché goes, it is much easier to keep and maintain a smaller house as compared to a huge one. Public service can be made more accessible, closer to the people,” Mangudadatu pointed out.