By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The newly completed Maguindanao provincial capitol building, dubbed as the “White House of the South,” is awaiting formal inauguration by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, local officials and stakeholders said on Sunday.
“The new capitol building is an essential part of trailblazing operations and reforms in our provincial governance. Its inauguration by national dignitaries like the President is fitting,” Engr. Abdulrahman Asim, provincial administrator, told the Manila Bulletin.
The building, designed by local architects with a façade resembling that of the White House in Washington D.C., forms part of a provincial capitol complex programmed with P500-million allocation on a 12-hectare land along the highway of Buluan, the new capital town of Maguindanao.
Its construction began in December 2016 and was completed last August, according to heads of provincial executive departments including the office of the governor, who have started transferring to the new edifice two weeks ago.
Upon election in 2010, Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu built the Rajah Buayan Peace Center edifice to house many of the executive departments including his office, Asim said.
With the completion of the “White House,” the huge office of the provincial treasury department at the Rajah Buayan peace center building will be relegated to the provincial elections office, which currently rents a building in this city.
In its meeting last week, the Provincial Peace and order Council (PPOC), chaired by Mangudadatu, approved the use of the treasury department’s space by Provincial Election Supervisor Udtog Tago and his staff.
PPOC officials said Mangudadatu had already sent an official invitation to President Duterte, asking him to inaugurate the modern capitol building.
Engr. Don Mustapha Loong, public works secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) visited last week some infrastructure projects in Maguindanao, including the new capitol building.