Mayor to skip rites putting Cotabato City under BARMM
COTABATO CITY—Leaders of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will finally assume full control of this city on Tuesday, a year after its people voted for inclusion in the expanded autonomous region, but its mayor, Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, is not attending the historic ceremony.
In a statement, Sayadi said she made the decision two days after receiving threats through text messages from anonymous sources. Similar threats were sent to Vice Mayor Graham Dumama, city administrator Danda Juanday and other officials, she said.
“One message in Filipino and in Maguindanaon said that chaos would erupt in the city if we continued our campaign against its inclusion in the BARMM,” said the mayor, who campaigned for “no” during the 2019 plebiscite and questioned the results in the Supreme Court when the “yes” votes won.
“The sender threatened to kill those who openly reject the BARMM. Another [text message] directly warned us they [would] bomb Cotabato City,” Sayadi said.
The autonomous region’s Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim has urged city officials to come together and work for a peaceful and progressive BARMM once the city’s supervision is turned over to the BARMM.
He said the BARMM was ready to accept Cotabato City to its fold but acknowledged that the political process toward its turnover was not easy.
“There were differences in opinions [and] principles and apprehensions that paint a stark contrast to the result of the historic plebiscite [last year],” said Ebrahim, who is also the chair of Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
“Continuing the lines of division, however, will not help us in making our collective aspirations a reality. As such, there is a need for all of us to come together as one community dedicated to the city’s collective advancement,” he said. INQ
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