Wednesday Dec, 11 2019 03:14:12 AM

Basilan achieves governance breakthrough in 100 days

GOVERNANCE/POLITICS • 15:30 PM Thu Oct 10, 2019
John M. Unson
Local officials in Basilan say changing the conflict-torn image of Basilan is yet a long way. (File photos)

COTABATO CITY --- Officials in Basilan reported Wednesday their accomplishments the past 100 days that their predecessors never achieved but says rebuilding the province from armed conflicts is yet a long way.

The newcomers Isabela City Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman and Vice Mayor Kifli Salliman together established during the period via the Sanguniang Panglunsod three outfits ---  the Culture and Arts Board (Ordinance 19-533), the City Information Office (Ordinance 19-534), and the City Legal Office (Ordinance 19-535) --- to boost the city government’s public service thrusts.

The SP, chaired by the first-termer Salliman, also passed last month the city’s Freedom of Information Ordinance, more known as Isabela City’s Ordinance 19-536, the first ever in Southern Philippines.

The FOI bill is meant to ensure transparency and accountability in the city government’s handling of fiscal resources and its implementation of local and state-funded socio-economic, security and infrastructure programs.

The local government unit of Isabela city also had considerable feats in its cleanup and sanitation drive in the barangays and in building religious solidarity among the local Muslim and Christian communities, according to its mayor, a former representative of the Anak Mindanao Party-list.

Division chiefs under the office of Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman, a second-termer, said the governor intensified during the past 100 days his reintroduction to mainstream society of reforming former Abu Sayyaf terrorists who returned to the fold of law in the past three years.

More than 200 Abu Sayyaf members in Basilan surrendered in batches in the past 36 months through the Program Against Violent Extremism of the provincial government and the executive department of the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The provincial government had also installed dozens of streetlights along isolated stretches of the highway connecting the cities of Isabela and Lamitan to ensure the safety of motorists and commuters on nighttime travels on the route, according to the governor’s ranking staff members.

They also mentioned about the governor’s having constructed a multi-million provincial social welfare training center in Isabela City, now open to public, during his first 100 days in office.

A number of white sand beach resorts in Basilan, located in seaside barangays where the Abu Sayyaf once operated with impunity, also opened from between July 1 to October 5 this year.

In a statement Thursday, Salliman, first elected as governor in 2013, said his office and the Lamitan City LGU have also secured from the Regional Board of Investments-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao a registration for a 1,000-hectare Cavendish banana farm project in the province.

The plantation project in Lamitan City is a joint venture of the transnational fruit firm Unifruitti and the Lamitan Banana Company.

Salliman said the Cavendish banana plantation project will boost the investment climate of Basilan, stymied for about 20 years by the presence of the Abu Sayyaf terror group, feared for its beheading of captives snatched from outside if ransom demands are not met.

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