Residents oppose division of Wao, Lanao del Sur into 2 towns.

Residents oppose division of Wao, Lanao del Sur into two towns

/ 01:14 PM March 07, 2024

Residents oppose division of Wao, Lanao del Sur into two towns

Residents of Wao town in Lanao del Sur held a rally on March 7 to oppose the division of their town into two. PHOTO BY RYAN D. ROSAURO

WAO, LANAO DEL SUR — Thousands of residents in this once frontier town in Lanao del Sur province rose up against plans to divide it into two municipalities.

In an indignation rally organized by the local government led by Mayor Elvino Balicao Jr., the people showed strong disapproval to Parliament Bill No. 271, which is pending in the Bangsamoro parliament.


The proposed measure, filed on Jan. 25 by Member of Parliament (MP) Ali Babao, seeks to carve the new Municipality of Saripada out of 11 predominantly Muslim-populated villages of Wao’s 26 villages.


The bill, co-authored by MPs Romeo Sema, Ali Salik, Dan Asnawie, Haron Abas, Akmad Abas, Basit Abbas, Mosber Alauddin, Ibrahim Ali, Abdulaziz Amenoden, passed the first reading on Feb. 21.

READ: Comelec eyes special elections in Lanao del Sur on May 24

Speaking during Thursday’s rally at the municipal government ground, Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mohammad Khalid Adiong assured the protesters that “the provincial legislators are always behind you in this fight.”

He urged all officials of the 11 villages to concretize their opposition to Babao’s proposal in a resolution of their respective barangay council “that can be adopted by the municipal council and then by the provincial board.”

“Let us have one voice in this issue,” Vice Gov. Adiong said.

Former Lanao del Sur Rep. Ansaruddin Adiong, speaking for his brother, Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr., urged Babao to withdraw his proposal before “in deference to the unified voice of Muslims and Christians of the town.”


He noted that the proposal was not even based on the request of the 11 villages. “It is a measure from out of nowhere. So l respectfully urged the authors (of the bill) to just withdraw it ” former Rep. Adiong appealed.

If the bill progresses in the legislative mill, MPs Rasul Esmael and Rasol Mitmug of the Bangsamoro Peoples Party, vowed to challenge the bill before the parliament’s committee on local government, and before the plenary.

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TAGS: Division, Lanao del Sur

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