A Christian was the lone winner of the Salamat Excellence Award for Leadership (SEAL) spearheaded by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Mayor Reynalbert Insular of the least-known South Upi in Maguindanao del Norte brought home P 2 million worth of project funds to support a priority program of his choice in his municipality.
Insular expressed disbelief in having won the SEAL award even as he was called on stage to receive the honor and the financial package to for his priority project.
He gave assurance that the funds would go through proper government auditing and accounting.
BARMM officials, including Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua along with Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., and his BARMM counterpart Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, joined Insular on the stage for the turnover of the P2-million check.
In 2020, the MILG launched the SEAL Program and has developed the criteria for the nomination and assessment of local chief executives.
Abalos lauded what he said was BARMM’s “institutionalizing” of its recognition system on performing LGUs and local officials
Abalos recalled that the first PPP (Public-Private Partnership Program) was crafted and implemented in Mandaluyong City to resolve interment congestion in the city’s public cemetery, during his term as the mayor of that city.
MILG Director-General Engineer Khalid Dumagay recalled the Mandaluyong development experience was the first of all PPPs implemented in the country, and which merited the First Galing Pook Award in recognition of its success.
The BARMM has recognized LGUs passing several categories of its established awarding system during the weeklong celebration that ended January 29.
The SEAL appears to be the highest, most prestigious and the only individual recognition that a local government official can obtain in the region
BARMM Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said SEAL is named after Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Founding Chairman Sheikh Salamat Hashim
Sinarimbo said the SEAL recognition starts with nomination and rigid assessment of verifiable impact in terms of performance and delivery of public service.
Insular is a Christian and his winning the SEAL Award—alone, proved the things: first, that the BARMM, a Muslim autonomous government treats its constituents fairly and the region’s local officials a peer of equals; second the Bangsamoro Government does not split its people in terms of religions, and third, the local governance is rather a challenge than a matter of religious accommodation in BARMM.
Otherwise, a lone Christian winning a top BARMM Award may not sit well with some Moro individuals, including social media bashers of BARMM, often on adverse comments on assumed names
But on the positive side, Sinarimbo said this will encourage more local officials—Muslims and Christians—to work harder in local governance, because BARMM provides all the support it could give to help LGUs improve in terms of capacity to govern and infrastructure support facilities.