COTABATO CITY — A foreign benefactor supporting the southern peace process sponsored the first ever strategic governance planning workshop of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The two-day event here that started Monday is a joint initiative of BARMM’s Ministry of Local Government, or MLG, and the United Nations Development Programme.
The activity aims to strengthen governance in BARMM, which covers all five provinces in the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cotabato City and 63 barangays in different towns in North Cotabato.
Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, BARMM’s local government minister, said Tuesday he is thankful to Winston Aylmer Camariñas, head of UNDP’s field office in Cotabato City, for helping them push the two-day strategic planning exercise forward.
Twenty three local government units in the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao were awarded with the 2018 Seal of Good Local Governance by the central office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government for efficient operation and good domestic socio-economic and security programs.
The newly-created MLG has jurisdiction over 118 towns in ARMM’s five provinces, Cotabato City and the 63 barangays in North Cotabato province.
The UNDP and several other entities under the United Nations have actively been supporting the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front whose figurehead, Hadji Murad Ebrahim, is now appointed chief minister of BARMM.
The creation of BARMM, covered by a charter, the Republic Act 11054, or Bangsamoro Organic Law, is a product of 22 years of peace talks between Malacañang and the MILF that foreign benefactors, among them the governments of Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, Norway and the European Union helped facilitate.
Sinarimbo said Ebrahim, also head of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, or BTA, was a speaker in the opening program of the MLG’s two-day workshop.
The UNDP-assisted strategic governance planning activity is meant to identify measures that can maximize governance in BARMM’s territory for the bilateral peace and development goals of the newly-established regional government and President Rodrigo Duterte to fully takeoff.
Ebrahim led on Monday the first ever flag ceremony in the 32-hectare BARMM capitol in Cotabato City, former seat of the ARMM regional government.
The enabling law for BARMM’s creation, ratified via a plebiscite in its proposed core territory last January 21, paved the way for ARMM’s takeover by the MILF-led Bangsamoro entity.
Ebrahim said BARMM’s initial normalization thrusts, intended to foster peace and sustainable development in areas beset with poverty and underdevelopment due to armed conflicts, are hinged on education, infrastructure, health and social welfare interventions.