In his opening statement, Mayor Gulam “Boy” Hataman of Sumisip happily welcome the participants to his town and wish the best for the local legislators present.

Mayor Hanie Bud of the Municipality of Maluso was tasked by his fellow mayors to present to the vice mayors and local legislators present the concept and strategic plan of the Western Basilan Alliance (WBA). He explains why this interlocal cooperation is being pursued and how they can play positive and complementary roles to institutionalize the alliance. He emphasizes the shared values needed to jumpstart and sustain the alliance — one that encourages broader participation and ownership, promotes leadership that serves and delivers, includes peoples and embrace diversity — united by love of God and neighbor, guided by fairness and equity.

Among the participants is 3-term woman-councilor Shehama Manuel of Lantawan who echoes the call for unity among local legislators. Councilor Ashier Abdulla of Tabuan Lasa admires the idea of alliance building and thinks the time has come to behave as a bigger group. Councilor Zia Ul Haq Basa of Maluso believes the local legislators should rally around this idea and expresses support for the needed resolutions. Councilor Mahdawi Ibrahim of Sumisip is happy for their experience in hosting inter-municipality event like this consultation; while councilor Zaldy Ahmad reckons that aside from the support from local legislators, he urges his colleagues to pray for its success.

This event — the third and final in the consultation series — is supported by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and implemented by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) through the 18-month “Modeling Inter-LGU Alliance for Basilan” (MILAB) Project.