COTABATO CITY – Following the passage of the Bangsamoro Administrative Code (BAC), the BARMM government is set to create an office that will promote the welfare and address the issues and concerns of settler communities in the region.
As stated in the BAC, settler communities refer to those “who are not native inhabitants of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, but who came to permanently reside therein as part of the Philippine Government’s resettlement programs or who voluntarily opted to migrate thereto, as well as their descendants who continue to reside in the Bangsamoro.”
In a forum held Friday in the city, Member of Parliament Dr. Susana Salvador Anayatin presented the salient features of the BAC on the provisions for the creation of the Office for Settler Communities.
She said the office is mandated to ensure that settlers enjoy the rights guaranteed to them by the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), the Constitution, and all other laws as may be enacted by the Bangsamoro Parliament. Among its powers and functions include:
- Provide advice and assistance to the Chief Minister in the formulation, coordination, implementation, and monitoring of policies, plans, programs, and projects affecting settler communities;
- Coordinate with concerned ministries, agencies, and other offices, when necessary, in the performance of its functions;
- Act as the primary agency for coordination with Settler Communities for the purpose of raising their concerns requiring assistance from the Bangsamoro Government, and as the primary agency for coordination with relevant ministries and agencies of the Bangsamoro Government in addressing redress and concerns of the Settler Communities;
- When necessary, provide additional support to ministries, agencies and offices in implementing programs and projects assistance in relation to Settler Communities; and
- Perform other functions as may be provided by law or assigned by the Chief Minister.
“Kinikilala ang partisipasyon at karapatan ng bawat sector sa BARMM,” Anayatin said, “Sa buong bansa, sa dinami-dami ng regions, dito lang sa BARMM mayroong Office for Settler Communities.”
The Office for Settler Communities is one of the agencies and offices attached to the Office of the Chief Minister (OCM).
In his message, Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said the BARMM shall be a community that respects and empowers people regardless of gender, ethnolinguistic group or religion.
“That’s why when we navigate the BOL and BAC, there are special offices created for various groups including the youth, women, indigenous communities and the settler community,” he said.
After all, the chief minister said, the BARMM is a shared aspiration of peoples that have gone through the same experiences and understanding of how beneficial peace and development can be for everyone.
“It is time to embrace a new understanding of diversity and respect. I hope that the BARMM can be a living proof that people can coexist regardless of their differences,” CM Ebrahim said.
Attendees to Friday’s forum included MP Narciso Yu Ekey, and representatives from the sectors of religious, academe, business, women, youth, media, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, and peoples organization, among others. (Bureau of Public Information)
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