Cotabato City (December 26, 2019)— It was a momentous event in the life of every Bangsamoro, when the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine Government reached a significant phase of peace negotiations after the RA 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) was successfully ratified on January 25, 2019.
This paved the way to the creation of the newly-established region—the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The newly-established region expanded its territory after a two-part plebiscite was held on January 21 and February 6. Its new territory included Cotabato City, 63 Barangays in North Cotabato and the five provinces of the defunct ARMM—Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
The new political entity is a parliament type of government, which is headed by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), composed of 41 members representing the MILF and 39 members representing the government.
MILF Chairman Ahod ‘Al Haj Murad’ Ebrahim was appointed as BARMM’s Interim Chief Minister.
Since its inauguration nine months ago, ‘moral governance’ became the BARMM’s banner.
Here are some of the Bangsamoro Government’s significant accomplishments under this advocacy.
Approval of the Bangsamoro Transition Plan
On June 18, the Bangsamoro Transition Plan was approved by the BTA Parliament. The said plan serves as the framework of the Bangsamoro Government, which includes the organizational chart of the various ministries and offices from the BARMM and the timeline of gradual phasing out of agencies and offices from the defunct ARMM.
BARMM Full Disclosure Policy Portal
The BARMM Full Disclosure Policy Portal (BARMM-FDPP) was launched by the Bangsamoro Government on April 4. The portal aims to enable constituents to understand government financial transactions and how the local government budget is spent and managed. The summary of Income and Expenditures as well as the budget process of the participation of representatives from the civil society are also part of the postings in the FDPP.
Introduction e-BARMM system
The e-BARMM was also introduced to improve accountability and transparency in the implementation and monitoring of projects under the Ministry of Public Works (MPW). The e-BARMM features the latest technology in geo-tagging and road mapping.
Project TABANG or the ‘Tulong Alay sa Bangsamorong Nangangailangan’ was also launched to bring the Bangsamoro Government closer to its constituents, through immediate extension of basic services, specifically on health and education services. The Bangsamoro Government has already conducted the project in Cotabato City and Maguindanao, Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, Bongao in Tawi-Tawi, and Pikit in North Cotabato.
The government of day also launched the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READI-BARMM). This is the new emergency and disaster response office of BARMM to address calamities. This is under the Executive Order No. 12 signed by Chief Minister Ebrahim on July 29, 2019.
Kapihan sa Bangsamoro
In order to promote transparency and moral governance, the Bangsamoro Government, through its Bureau of Public Information (BPI-BARMM), launched a weekly interface between its officials and the media—the Kapihan sa Bangsamoro. It is aimed at ensuring that the populace of the BARMM and its neighbouring areas are abreast with the issues, affairs, and the developments in the new Bangsamoro region.
The Radyo Bangsamoro was launched through the Bangsamoro Government’s information arm, the Bureau of Public Information – BARMM, to update the constituents of BARMM on the affairs of the region. The program is being aired in all stations in Cotabato City, one in Zamboanga City, and Radyo ng Bayan in Sulu, Saturdays from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.
Media communications workshop
A ‘Media Communications Workshop for BARMM’ was conducted on October 10 to 11, intended for the information officers across the region. The Bangsamoro Government tapped the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to provide lectures on the different platforms and communication strategies that would help in strengthening the information campaign of the Bangsamoro Government.
First Bangsamoro energy forum
To further advance the planning and development of sustainable energy in the Bangsamoro region, the first energy forum and planning workshop was held on August 22. It was spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy (MENRE-BARMM).
Decommissioning of the MILF combatants
The decommissioning of 1, 060 MILF-BIAF combatants have also started on September 7, held in Sultan Kudarat. The decommissioning process, which is part of the 12, 000 or 30% of the 40,000 MILF-BIAF members, is a vital component of the normalization process. This is one of the Bangsamoro Government’s ways in achieving the pursuit of sustainable livelihood and peaceful society.
Former MILF combatants serve as forest rangers
To secure and protect forests in the Bangsamoro region, the Bangsamoro Government hired 400 ex-MILF combatants as new “palaw” (mountain) or forest rangers during the launching of the Integrated Bangsamoro Greening Program (IBGP) on November 23. The palaw rangers will guard the region’s 301, 894 hectares of forest cover. This program is also part of sustaining peace and order in the region.
BARMM fights resurgence of poliovirus
After two decades, the poliovirus has re-emerged in the Philippines. The first case was confirmed in Lanao del Sur this year. Because of this, the region’s Ministry of Health (MOH-BARMM) has conducted a massive immunization program in Marawi City. The campaign dubbed “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio”, aimed to prevent further cases in the region, where children aged from zero to five years were given free vaccination against polio.
A campaign to end violence against women
In order to prioritize women welfare in the region, the Bangsamoro Government, through its Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women (RCBW), has also launched its 18-day campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW). Series of activities promoting the women’s rights were conducted.
Tourism stakeholders’ summit
To promote and advance the tourism industry in the Bangsamoro region, the Bangsamoro Government held its first ‘Bangsamoro Tourism Stakeholders’ Summit’. The BARMM’s tourism department spearheaded the activity to give importance to the halal and sustainable tourism in the grassroots community of the region.
Messaging peace hubs
The government of the day also conducted a workshop called “Messaging Peace Hubs: Bridging the Gap Project”. The workshop aimed at developing core messages that the Bangsamoro Government hopes to deliver to the public and to its local stakeholders.
BARMM sets high investment record
The Bangsamoro Government’s Regional Board of Investments (RBOI-BARMM) has registered a total of Php 4.153 Billion worth of investments and recorded 2, 724 employments in 2019. The RBOI exceeded its target of generating Php 2.3 Billion worth of investment projects by 180%.
The Bangsamoro Government has signed a partnership agreement with 12 hospitals in the different parts of the BARMM for the implementation of its banner program, AMBAG or the ‘Ayudang Medikal mula sa Bangsamoro Government’ on November 22. The program is designed to help indigent patients receive medical assistance and lessen the mortality rate in the region.
BARMM pushes for a more child-friendly government
The Bangsamoro Government has committed to become a child-friendly regional government after 66 Local Government Uniits (LGU) were conferred the Seal of Child-Friendly Local Governance on November 4.
Wage hike in the Bangsamoro region
After the Bangsamoro Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board’s (BTWPB) approval of Wage Order No. BARMM-01 on November 13, minimum wage earners in the Bangsamoro region receives a pay raise. The non-agriculture and agriculture sectors in the region are covered by the said minimum wage increase. From the previous Php 270-280 daily income, workers are now receiving Php 290-300.
Bangsamoro Intergovernmental body
After the inauguration of the BARMM, the Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB) was formed. On December 17, the members of the IGRB met for the first time in Davao City. The IGRB will serve as an avenue for the Bangsamoro Government and the national government to coordinate and resolve issues on intergovernmental relations through regular consultation and negotiation.
Bangsamoro Job Portal
The Bangsamoro Job Portal was launched online to cater and screen aspiring applicants, based on merit and credibility. This platform was created by the Bangsamoro Government as part of its call for moral governance. The portal will also give the applicants less-hassle transaction in submitting their resumes and scouting job vacancies in the different ministries of BARMM.
Bills passed by the Bangsamoro Parliament
•Adoption of official flag and emblem of BARMM
The Bangsamoro Government has adopted its new flag and emblem, following the passage of the bills, BTA Act. No. 1 and BTA Act NO. 2. Said bills are the first two legislations of the Bangsamoro Parliament since its establishment.
•Approval of budget for the Bangsamoro
One of the biggest accomplishments this year in the BARMM is the approval of the Php 65 Billion budget for the next fiscal year, being part of the region’s annual block grant. After months of waiting, the BTA Parliament has approved the said budget under the BTA Act No. 3.
All of the nineteen (19) ministries in the region got their respective allocations with the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) getting the biggest chunk of Php 19 Billion budget.
About Php 500 Million from the regional budget was also allotted for the rehabilitation of Marawi City. This is in line with the BARMM’s twelve-point priority agenda and the Bangsamoro Government’s goal for moral governance.
• Creation of Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission
The Bangsamoro Transition Authority- Parliament has approved the creation of the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC). Now BTA Act No. 4, it is the first office created pursuant to RA No. 11504.
In one of his recent engagements, Chief Minister Ebrahim said: “with the guidance of the Almighty Allah and with our deepest desire to provide a better life for the Bangsamoro, we accepted the challenge [..] I am optimistic that 2020 is going to be a year of milestones for all of us. And yes, it’s going to demand a lot from us but I know, everything is going to be worth it, In Shaa Allah.” (Bureau of Public Information)