COTABATO CITY – The new P108-million bridge has connected 13 barangays in the western coast of Maguindanao to this city, a first in the 48-year history of the province.
Representatives from the Bangsamoro government led by Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim launched Saturday the bridge connecting both banks of the Matuber River in Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao.
ARMM to BARMM
The former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) bankrolled the construction of the bridge in 2019. The new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) continued its construction.
During the launching Saturday, Datu Blah Sinsuat Mayor Marshall Sinsuat said he and other officials are grateful to BARMM officials.
“This is so important for us, for the local business sector and for all residents in our 13 coastal barangays,” Sinsuat said.
The 13 barangays in Datu Blah Sinsuat, originally under Upi town in Maguindanao, were grouped together as one municipality 12 years ago.
BARMM replaced ARMM in February 2019 as a result of 22-year peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Residents of the 13 barangays in Datu Blah Sinsuat can only reach Cotabato City, the capital of BARMM, either by boat and small motorized outrigger watercrafts before.
Ebrahim and the municipal officials led the inauguration of the Matuber Bridge in Barangay Matuber, Datu Blah Sinsuat.
Ebrahim presides over BARMM’s 80-seat interim parliament, more known as the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
Regional Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo and the architect Eduard Guerra, head of BARMM’s public works ministry, accompanied Ebrahim.
Bangsamoro parliament members Susana Anayatin, Baintan Adil-Ampatuan and Rasul Esmael, Education Minister Muhaguer Iqbal, Transportation and Communications Minister Dickson Hermoso, Major Gen. Juvymax Uy of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and Brig. Gen. Jonas Lumawag of the Philippine Navy’s 1st Marine Brigade were also present in the event.
Connecting business communities
Maguindanao Vice. Gov. Lester Sinsuat said the Matuber Bridge will connect the business communities in the seaside barangays in his hometown Datu Odin Sinsuat to the fishing villages in Datu Blah Sinsuat.
Ebrahim, Guerra and Sinarimbo also led the symbolic groundbreaking rite for the construction of a P25 million municipal hall in Datu Blah Sinsuat.
The BARMM government shall fund the municipal hall building project via the Interior and Local Government ministry under Sinarimbo.
The senior BARMM officials had also inaugurated the new two-storey Sangguniang Bayan building of Datu Blah Sinsuat . The inauguration of the town’s first ever gasoline station owned by a local business group also followed.
Sinarimbo, BARMM’s regional spokesperson, said the fledgling town has improved remarkably in recent years.
Sinarimbo said he is certain investors from outside would soon put up viable businesses in the town.