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Who says there’s no governance in Bayang?


Among the municipal halls in the province of Lanao del Sur that I have visited, the municipal hall of Bayang is among those busiest. If it had been maintained and did not unweather a little bit, it would be possibly among the best town halls in the province.

It was not maintained by the present municipal administrators because they got the papers of ownership from the previous administration just recently. But Mayor Sahroden Maya Ampatua promised to renovate the hall in due time to make it more convenient to his constituents who are doing business in the municipal hall.

It is therefore surprising to hear a media report as saying that Bayang has a ghost municipal hall, and, worst, has no governance at all.

By this issue, a media group from Iligan was prompted to visit Bayang to validate if such issue held water. I was one of those media practitioners who went to the place.

The group invited me to join them because the municipality of Bayang is one of my father’s immediate hometowns — the others are Marawi City and the municipality of Ditsaan Ramain.

Bayang is the birthplace of my great grandfather, the Sheik-ul-Yaman Yahya, who greatly helped the development of Islam in the locality and somehow contributed to the title that Bayang is enjoying, that of being a “Little Makkah” and “Padang Karbala.” (See related story)

Bayang political and traditional leaders called the GMA report on October 22 about their town as erroneous and they wished the GMA team who made the report had truly visited the entire town and asked its constituents how it was doing to avoid inaccuracy in the report.

Bayang municipal mayor Ampatua told us that the report of GMA about Bayang was unfair. “It is not quite accurate,” he lamented.

Ampatua recalled that at the time the GMA reportorial team visited Bayang Municipal hall, they (the municipal officials and heads of offices) were at the annex municipal building located at another barangay having an urgent meeting about the then forthcoming barangay elections.

Barangay elections is posing a problem in the Maranao society. The elections augment the worst side of the Maranao culture known as rido.

The Rido which is a family feud embedded with maratabat has been a nemesis to peace since time immemorial that advocates of peace and local leaders in the government and otherwise have to deal squarely.

With a mission to transform the governance of Bayang from the old obsolete tradition to the modern way of fast-track development and empowerment wherein people are directly involved and benefitted, the town mayor mentioned four urgent priority concerns to be addressed.

He mentioned peace and order, electricity, potable water system and roads. Barangay elections pose as among hindrance to peace.

Ampatua said, “We want to have peaceful barangay elections and we must convince candidates for barangay offices and their supporters to abide by the law and our own tradition.”

Ampatua’s concern to avoid bloodshed and prevent loss of life which was rampant in previous barangay elections needed the involvement of local government officials thus they were all in the said urgent meeting.

He said that most of the municipal officials and employees attended the pulong-pulong so that only a few personnel were left in the municipal hall whom the GMA people had possibly met.

The urgent meeting brought out very good result. Barangay elections in Bayang’s forty-nine barangays was so peaceful that nothing untoward had ever happened, even the least.

With regards to GMA report that Bayang has no governance, the mayor said, it is not true. “In fact,” he said, “we have been submitting regular and up-to-date reports to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and to other concerned government agencies as required about the operation of Bayang.”

The GMA report, however, is not at all that bad. Ampatua said the GMA report had positive effect and that he was happy. “Because of the GMA report,” he pointed out, “the document on the ownership of the municipal building was finally handed over to us on November 11, 2013.”

He added that the employees were also reminded of their duties and obligations as public servants.

“Now that the ownership papers of the municipal building are with us, the municipal building can be improved from its present condition,” Ampatua said.

He said: “Before, we conduct our official business in a borrowed building, but now we had our own municipal building.”

Ampatua also lamented that while the lake which is the source of electricity that generates power to almost of Mindanao, Lanao del Sur who owns the lake has the worst electric supply in the country.

He said it is also lamentable that while our lake has a Class AAA fresh water, we have scarce drinking water.

All of these are in the priority list of the mayor to address in the most possible time and will ask the help of concerned entities either government or non-government or foreign organizations..

Ampatua took the opportunity to thank the media, the DILG officials and other government officials for giving the local officials ideas on how to achieve effective governance in the municipality.

He expressed strong support to the “matuwid na daan” policy of the national leadership and he assured to perform his duties and responsibilities as local chief executive along the straight path principle.

Meanwhile, Municipal Vice Mayor Hadji Nor Imadoden Balt, the presiding officer of the Sanguniang Bayan (SB) of Bayang also belied the GMA report.

In an interview, Balt said the SB holds its weekly regular session every Monday. He said, “It is not true that there is no governance in Bayang.”

“The Sanggunian has passed several resolutions and ordinances aimed at promoting development efforts in the municipality to improve the living conditions of the people of Bayang,” the vice mayor said.

He said, “It just happened that the GMA reportorial team visited the municipal hall on the day when most of the officials and employees were attending the pulong-pulong in the annex building.”

Bayang Municipal Councilor Naim B. Alimosa supported the statements of his co- workers saying, “There is no truth to the GMA report that there is no governance in Bayang.”

He said that the SB of Bayang conducts its regular session every Monday and perform its function in formulating policies, laws and regulations to further the interests of the municipality.

Municipal Secretary Alihasan B. Balt, said, “The SB passes the needed resolutions and ordinances in pursuance to the goals and objectives of the Municipal Government.”

He said, “The SB supports the plans and programs of the local chief executive to make sure that the programs and services of the local government are effectively implemented for the benefit of the people.” He said that several programs and projects are being implemented by the local government of Bayang to improve the lives of the people.

For his part, Bayang Municipal Treasurer Gasanara S. Balt said that there is no truth to the GMA report that there is no governance in Bayang.

He said the officials and employees report to duty regularly and receive their salaries every month. He said that Bayang has fourteen (14) permanent employees who are all eligible, thirteen (13) temporary employees and fifteen (15) casual employees.

He said that Bayang is also remitting the withholding tax payments of the employees to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) regularly and pays its obligations to other agencies including the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the PhilHealth.


Mayo Ampatua
MPDO Engr. Papandayan
Treasurer Balt

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