Mindanao needs more senators

The setup of the Philippine Senate has long been disadvantageous to the people of Mindanao. It is the second largest island in the country, the seventh most populous island in the world, sub-divided into six administrative regions. It needs at least six senators if the government intends to lessen poverty incidence on the island.

Poverty incidence is related to the representation of the regions in the Philippine Senate.

Poverty incidence is 2.3 percent in Metro Manila, 18.2 percent in Luzon, 22 percent in Mindanao, and 57 percent in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Based on a comparative review of the audit reports of the Commission on Audit on the accounts and financial operations of local governments, the farther a local government is from Imperial Manila, the higher is the poverty incidence. In the Province of Lanao del Sur in the BARMM, poverty incidence is highest at 57 percent.

The Municipality of Kapatagan is a 4th class municipality located in the Province of Lanao del Sur, BARMM. It comprises 15 barangays. The municipality is headed by Mayor Raida B. Maglangit.

The Office of the Supervising Auditor conducted a financial and compliance audit on the accounts and transactions of the Municipality of Kapatagan, Lanao del Sur for Calendar Year 2020, on a test basis, to ascertain the level of assurance that may be placed on management’s assertions the financial statements are free of material misstatements, recommend agency improvement opportunities, and determine the extent of implementation of the prior year’s audit recommendations.

Despite all the limitations, Maglangit has accomplished for her constituents a legacy of positive results.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has accorded the Municipality of Kapatagan the following awards: 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance, 2018 Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping, 2017 Seal of Child Friendly Local Governance, and 2017 Seal of Good Local Governance.

As of 2020, the financial standing of Kapatagan was as follows: Total assets, P181,921,750.43; total liabilities, P52,121,833.12: and total equity, P129,799,917.31.

Financial performance in 2020: Total revenue P135,070,059.90; total expenses, P134,065,236.03; and surplus P1,004,823.87.

Budget and actual amounts in 2020: Appropriations, P132,227,157; obligations incurred, P118,579,575.93; and surplus P13,647,581.07.

Maglangit was elected as municipal mayor from 2001 to 2010; vice mayor from 2016 to 2019; and again, elected as municipal mayor from 2019 to the present.

During her term, she was able to change Kapatagan from the ashes of war into one of peace and development.

There is a general clamor from people, not only in Mindanao, but also in Luzon and the Visayas that the senators of the land should be elected only by the people in the regions they will represent, instead of having them elected nationwide by the entire 110 million Filipinos as their constituents. The results are inequities.

The very high poverty incidence in the Municipality of Kapatagan is most unfortunate despite the outstanding performance of its municipal chief executive.

It would have been a different story if BARMM were represented by its own senator. The people in the region who voted for her will constitute her only constituents. Her P200-million annual development fund would suffice to support the flow of irrigation waters to the farmlands of Kapatagan and distribution of fertilizers to every farmer in the area. There will be production throughout the plains of the town and income for every family who will be happy to pay their dues to the municipal government.

Electing a senator for each of the six administrative regions of Mindanao will completely wipe the incidence of poverty on the island because Mindanao is considered the major bread basket of the Philippines, with eight of the top 10 agri-commodities exported from the country coming from the island itself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *