Mindanao lawmakers seek creation of ‘National DPWH’ in BARMM

Mara Cepeda
Mindanao lawmakers seek creation of ‘National DPWH’ in BARMM
Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman says this would allow BARMM to properly implement infrastructure programs funded by the national government, but BARMM spokesperspon Naguib Sinarimbo believes it is 'not allowed'

MANILA, Philippines – Eight legislators from Mindanao have filed a resolution pushing for the creation of a “National Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)” in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The following Mindanao lawmakers filed House Resolution (HR) No. 333 on Friday, September 13, a copy of which was sent to reporters on Tuesday, September 17:

  • Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman, Basilan
  • Datu Roonie Sinsuat Sr, Maguindanao 1st District
  • Esmael Mangudadatu, Maguindanao 2nd District
  • Munir Aribson, Sulu 2nd District
  • Rashidin Matba, Tawi-tawi
  • Yasser Balindong, Lanao del Sur 2nd District
  • Ansaruddin Adiong, Lanao del Sur 1st District
  • Amihilda Sancopan, Anak Mindanao

In HR 333, the Mindanao legislators want a National DPWH  in BARMM so that the Bangsamoro government would be able to properly implement infrastructure programs that would be funded by the national government. (READ: Can’t afford to fail: Bangsamoro region weathers birth pains)

They argued that “it is difficult to expect” the BARMM government to deliver on national infrastructure programs when the Bangsamoro Organic Law – which created the new autonomous region – is “limited” to a minister of public works. (READ: Who’s who in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority) 

“So ito ang naisip naming solusyon – ‘yong mag-create ng isang national DPWH sa BARMM para wala nang sagabal sa full implementation ng national DPWH program sa BARMM,” said Hataman.

(This is the solution we thought of – to create a national DPWH in BARMM so there would be no obstacles to the full implementation of the national DPWH program in BARMM),” 

Hataman, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which was replaced by BARMM, said the goal is to “ensure that the BARMM is successful in all aspects” by anticipating solutions to possible problems before they happen.

He stressed that the resolution does not violate BARMM autonomy since the proposed National DPWH in BARMM will only implement nationally-funded projects.

“This will not involve projects funded by the BARMM’s block grant. Article 13 [of the Bangsamoro Organic Law] states that certain infrastructure projects will still be funded and implemented by the national government,” he told Rappler in a phone interview. 

Section 37 under Article 13 of the BOL states that the national government “shall fund and implement the construction and maintenance of national roads, bridges, water supply and services, and flood control and irrigation systems” and the “maintenance of existing airports, seaports, and wharves” in the BARMM.

HR 333 would not have the full force and effect of the law if the House of Representatives agrees to adopt it. The resolution would merely “express the sense” of the House that lawmakers are supporting the creation of a National DPWH in BARMM.

But BARMM spokesperson and Minister of Interior and Local Government Naguib Sinarimbo said creating the National DPWH in BARMM is “not allowed.” 

“That is not allowed. Public works and highways is a power already granted [to] the Bangsamoro government. Even in the old ARMM, autonomy set up that is already a settled case and it has been confirmed already by the Supreme Court in the case of Disomangcop vs Datumanong,” said Sinarimbo.  

Read a full copy of HR 133 below:


– with reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler


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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.