Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman of Isabela: Uniting People in Mindanao

MAYOR Turabin-Hataman is currently in her second term as a female leader in Isabela City, Basilan Province (the Philippines). When running for election, her identity as a Muslim was highlighted, as she competed for the leadership role of the mostly Christian city of Mindanao. However, she has proved that she can unite the people and deliver her best for them. Results have shown that developments of Isabela City are anchored on the Nine Point Agenda of Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman: (1) Transparent, Participatory, Effective and Efficient Governance, (2) Safe, Secure and Resilient Community, (3) Clean and Environment-Friendly, (4) Economically Progressive, (5) Culturally-Diverse and Proud, (6) Sustainable Tourism, (7) Care for the Vulnerable Members of the Society, (8) Health, Education and Well-being and (9) Synergy.

For transparent, participatory, and effective governance, Isabela City has established the City Information Office. Under the leadership of Mayor Hataman, the city government has also passed and enacted relevant ordinances as well as conducted regular visits to Barangays and given support, such as additional funding for public toilets construction. For resilient communities, the city government has reconstituted the City Peace and Order Council, established the Peace and Order and Public Safety Technical Working Group and formulated the city’s Peace and Order and Public Safety Plan. The city has also implemented various infrastructure projects, such as the construction/repair of streetlights and CCTV. For the clean and environmentally friendly agenda, the city has launched the CLEAN Isabela movement for a clean-and-green city and banned the single-use of plastic.

For Health, Education, and Well-being, the city has developed various education programmes, distributed maternal kits to mother, and consistently organised school-based immunisation programme which has also surpassed the national targets. The city has also highlighted and applied synergy in the COVID-19 era. For a progressive economy, the city has recorded milestones in the initiation of agriculture-related programmes, livelihood programmes, and infrastructure projects. As for cultural diversity, the city government has also held various activities from inter-faith dialogues and, the establishment of a culture and artboard, to the launch of a city campaign celebrating the multi-lingual and multi-cultural identity of the city.

Prior to leading the city, Mayor Turabin-Hataman was the Director of the Moro Human Rights Centre and President of Pinay Kilos; she focused her works on advocacy of families in conflict areas in Mindanao. She believes everyone should be treated fairly, regardless of race or faith. We are looking forward to her next moves.