Tawi-Tawi Seaport Passenger Terminal & Tourism Center Rising on Simunul Island

Façade of the Office of the Chief Minister (OCM) Building of the BARMM Government. (Photo: SDN — SciTech and Digital News)

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COTABATO CITY (SDN) — With a perfect view of Bud Bongao (Bongao Peak), Tawi-Tawi province’s Simunul Seaport Passenger Terminal and Tourism Center (SSPTTC) is rising.

The Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) headed by Interior Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo, a lawyer, visited the island municipality of Simunul recently to inspect the construction of the seaport-cum-tourism center.

Simunul is one of the municipalities of Tawi-Tawi, one of the three island provinces of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The other two being Basilan and Sulu.

Bangsamoro Interior Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo. (Photo: SDN — SciTech and Digital News)

The Bangsamoro region, established in 2018 by the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to implement the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), is made up of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as the Special Geographic Area’s (SGA) 63 barangays or villages that voted “Yes” in a plebiscite in February 2019 to be under the BARMM jurisdiction.

According to the Philippine Atlas BARMM has 4,404,288 people. It has 116 municipalities: Basilan, 11 municipalities; Lanao del Sur, 39; undivided Maguindanao, 36; Sulu, 19; and Tawi-Tawi, 11. Its component cities are Cotabato (the regional center and capital) in Maguindanao; Lamitan in Basilan; and Marawi in Lanao del Sur.

The MILG chief, also the spokesman of the Bangsamoro government, likes what he saw.

“Our Seaport Passenger Terminal cum Tourism Center in the municipality of Simunul, province of Tawi-Tawi is now taking shape. With tourism increasing in Tawi-Tawi and, in particular, in the historic island municipality of Simunul, the passenger terminal cum tourism center will play a vital role in improving tourism services in this part of the Bangsamoro,” notes Sinarimbo.

Recall that Simunul houses the historic landmark that is the Shariff Karimul Makdum Mosque built reportedly over 640 years ago by Arab trader and missionary Shariff Karim Makdum in Barangay Tubig Indangan.

Sinarimbo lauded both the Tawi-Tawi and Simunul local government units (LGUs) for the seaport’s construction.

“We are happy to partner with the provincial government and the municipal government of Simunul in implementing this project funded by our Ministry.
This edifice will cater to the needs both of tourists and residents of this bustling town where the first mosque in the country is located,” he said.

“The seaport’s design pays homage to the intricate mat weaving tradition of the people of Tawi Tawi. It will have a perfect view of the Bongao peak.”

Sinarimbo’s MILG has been one of the busiest of the BARMM’s 15 ministries as it builds Municipal Halls, Public Terminals, Public Markets, Philippine National Police (PNP) Stations, Barangay Halls, Seawater Desalination Facilities, Water Systems, among other structures, across the Bangsamoro region.

Many of the MILG’s construction projects have been completed and turned over to respective LGUs, many others being built, while more are in the planning stage.

Sinarimbo assured that his ministry will continue its construction projects as well as other programs and services until the last day of the extension of the BARMM’s transition phase. — EDD K. USMAN (✓)

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