The Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) observes the increasing gap between the Cotabato City Government and the BARMM Government. This gap is further exacerbated by differing approaches to COVID-19 community quarantine as mandated by the national government and implemented by the LGU. Similar issue confronts the two government structures with regard coordination on the distribution of relief goods to the needy citizens of Cotabato City and the suburbs.


IAG recognizes and respects the competences and prerogatives of the City Government and BARMM. The IAG also believes that the exercise of these competences and prerogatives by these two government entities need not be in “competition”, to say the least, or “hostile” at its worst.


In the light of the uncertainties imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is the urgency for these two government structures to work together, albeit political differences and the nuances in the interpretation of the law. The call is to work together and set aside all politics during the pandemic crisis.


IAG appeals to the two political entities to begin a friendly dialogue in discussing the best ways to respond to the crisis at hand.


The first good step for the City Government and the BARMM is to create a JOINT TASK FORCE for COVID-19 Crisis Management composed of 11 members – three (3) Representatives from the City Government, three (3) Representatives from the BARMM, one (1) from the AFP, one (1) from the PNP and three (3) from Non-Government Sector representing the Private Sector (Business), Church/Religious Sector and Civil Society Organizations. The Task Force will have a rotating chair in each meeting.


IAG appeals to all followers of both the City Government and the BARMM, during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, to refrain from making or posting derogatory remarks and accusations to malign the other party both in formal or informal talks and in the social media.


The common good and the safety of the citizens of the City and the BARMM urge all to work together and set aside for a while our politics and beliefs.


IAG offers its expertise and resources to this end.