By Jim Lloyd Dongiapon
Yesterday, January 9, the undivided Maguindanao province held its final flag-raising ceremony at the Provincial Capitol in Buluan, signifying the beginning of the operation of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur as separate local government units (LGUs).
It was led by Maguindanao del Sur Governor Bai Mariam Sangki Mangudadatu, Maguindanao del Norte Governor Bai Fatima Ainee Sinsuat, board members, and other officials.
The One Maguindanao flag was folded for the last time and was no longer hoisted during the ceremony.
Maguindanaons described it as a “significant and emotional day” because the One Maguindanao Province they knew no longer existed.
After the last flag-raising ceremony, an open forum was held to address the worries, problems, and skepticisms of the former Maguindanao province’s workers.
According to Maguindanao del Sur Provincial Administrator Atty. Cyrus Torreña, 225 regular employees, or 49.5 percent of One Maguindanao’s workforce, will work for the Provincial Government of Maguindanao del Sur, while 230 regular employees, or 50.5 percent, will join the workforce of Maguindanao del Norte.
It was also announced that Atty. Mohajiroe Lauban will become the OIC Provincial Administrator of Maguindanao del Norte.
Employees of the Maguindanao del Norte Provincial Government were transferred to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Building in the Datu Odin Sinsuat Maguindanao Municipal Compound, which will serve as their temporary office.
The two Maguindanao provinces will now create their own hymns, flags, and seals that will be approved by their respective provincial boards.
Maguindanao del Sur, through their official Facebook page, released their approved official seal yesterday after the inaugural session of their Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
It can be recalled that on September 17, 2022, 706,558 voters from One Maguindanao, or 99.27 percent of the total votes, ratified Republic Act No. 11550, the law creating the Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur provinces.