BARMM Minister Hermoso Ends Leadership Squabbles Hounding MARINA Tawi-Tawi


— Lessons learned: Better straighten your acts together, or you’ll deserve a strong leader.

— It takes a former military general to straighten and end squabbles in MARINA Tawi-Tawi, BARMM.

— Leadership confusion for three years in the then Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) needed BARMM top minister to straighten up.


BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi  — For over three years now, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) provincial office in Tawi-Tawi has been in a leadership confusion.

Until now, that is.

Enter a tough Ministry of Transportation and Communications (BARMM-MOTC) head in the person of MOTC Minister Dickson P. Hermoso. One he was briefed about the squabble, he did what a good leaders ought to do.

So, on Tuesday, August 6, Hermoso, former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) general, who was posted in Mindanao just recently, made an ocular inspection and personally visited the MARINA offices.

Tough yet democratic, his message to the feuding MARINA Tawi-Tawi officials was strong and decisive.

Minister Hermoso said, “The confusion of leadership in this office has to stop. No one assumes office without any proper legal authority that comes from the BARMM interim chief minister himself and without my concurrence as the minister of transportation and communications.”

BARMM Hermoso

BARMM-MOTC Minister Dickson P. Hermoso conveying what could be a take-it-or-leave-it message to quarreling MARINA Tawi-Tawi officials. (Photo: Mark Navales)

Before the turnover of authority from the former ARMM to BARMM, this has been the prevailing concern in the southwestern island province of the Bangsamoro government.

Aside from Tawi-Tawi, the BARMM comprises of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and some areas in North Cotabato that voted in a plebiscite to join the Moro autonomy.

Alonto A. Sahiron, MPA, regional officer-in-charge of MARINA-BARMM said, “this ocular visit of Minister Hermoso has settled once and for all the issues on bogus personnel pretending to be employees who are actually not connected with MARINA-BARMM.”

“We were already directed by the Interim Chief Minister Alhaj Murad Ebrahim himself before, to look into this bogus operation of MARINA in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, until our new minister has been appointed last 15 July,” he pointed out.

“Minister Hermoso has vigorously sustained our efforts to solve once and for all not only the issues of MARINA but also numerous operational concerns of other agencies attached to MOTC-BARMM,” Sahiron explained.

There are others who also claim to be employees of other agencies but records show otherwise. This affects the operation in the said island province for the boat owners are confused on whom to get the real permit to operate.

BARMM Hermoso ocular

BARMM-MOTC Minister Dickson P. Hermoso in an inspection tour of Tawi-Tawi ports. (Photo: Mark Navales)

Sahiron said that all types of sea vessel regardless of tonnage are obliged to register and be recognized by MARINA-BARMM. All personal or commercial sea vessels, may it be small wooden banca, medium size or large passenger and cargo container ships, should get their permit to operate from the said office.

MARINA and the Regional Ports Management Authority (RPMA) should be working hand and hand as brothers to monitor each sea vessel plying and docking along the seas and rivers within the BARMM area of responsibility.

For his part, Gary Abbas, regional officer-in-charge of RPMA said, “So far the issue now in our ports within BARMM is congestion. The fact that there are so many sea vessels now docking at our ports, we can hardly accommodate them.”

“Bongao and Jolo ports are under renovations to be able to handle bigger ships, so as to make it as an international hub. Soon these ports will be able to accommodate international cargos and passenger ships from neighboring Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Sabah and Brunei,” he said.

“The revival of the barter trade among our Asian neighbors such as Malaysia and Indonesia is underway as ordered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s decision about the cross-border trading,” Abbas added.

BARMM Hermoso forum

BARMM-MOTC Minister Dickson P. Hermoso (in a black shirt), AFP officers, MARINA Tawi-Tawi officials and stakeholders at the forum. Photo: Mark Navales)

Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) No. 64 in October 2018 that created the Mindanao Barter Council (MBC) has identified the ports of Siasi and Jolo in Sulu and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi as the barter ports.

Hermoso’s ocular inspection was in close coordination with Lt. General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of AFP’s Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM). The Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, 2nd Marine Brigade, Philippine Navy’s (PN) Naval Station Juan Magluyan (NAJM), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Philippine National Police (PNP) in Tawi-Tawi are also in full support.

Other government line agencies like the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) as well as the local chief executives were also present to support the proper flow of operation in the Bangsamoro island provinces. (AO)

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