By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Officials of seven Muslim-administered provinces in Mindanao are appealing for relief from what they decried as discriminatory effects on their governances by two resolutions promulgated last year by the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
Napolcom Resolutions 335 and 335-A, promulgated at the height of the Marawi siege fighting in June 2017, removed administrative power over police forces from the governors of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basila, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, all of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), of Lanao del Norte and Sultan Kudarat alongside 132 mayors.
The commission, chaired by then DILG Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Catalino Uy, citied as basis alleged reports about “local executives in Mindanao being involved in the illegal drug trade and who are said to be providing support, in one way or another, to the Maute terrorist group or other criminal elements in their jurisdictions.”
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu disclosed that the resolutions are now depriving the seven provinces and 132 municipal and city government units of the chance to aspire for recognition under the DILG-led annual Seal of Good Local Government (SGLG) awards.
According to published reports, incumbent DILG Secretary Eduardo Año did not allow the assessment of 21 LGUs in ARMM and in Maguindanao for the current search for SGLG awardees because the aspirant-LGUs are among the subject areas of the Napolcom resolutions.
Among the excluded aspirants for the SGLA awards is the province of Basilan, home of ARMM Governor Mujiv S. Hataman. The 20 other candidate-LGUs are towns belonging to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) five component provinces like Maguindanao, a recipient of the SGLG in 2015.
Mngudadatu said his office has sent an official communication to the DILG secretary appealing for the lifting of the Napolcom resolutions.
Military officials in Central Mindanao said the Napolcom rulings were “ill-advised” and an affront to the nation’s “all-out war against illegal drug, terrorism, and other organized crimes.”