Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Lidasan: Weaving the Bangsamoro tapestry

Al Iqra

THIS Friday is set to be the inauguration of the officers of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. This is a pivotal moment in both Bangsamoro and Philippine history, as it is the first time where government officials will take an oath on the Qu’ran.

In a largely Catholic nation, this is particularly important as most swearing-ins have been on the Bible. Even in first-world countries, this is a noteworthy achievement. For example, in the United States, Cong. Keith Ellison of the 5th District of Minnesota swore his oath of office in a Qu’ran that was owned by the 4th President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson.

The book on which one swears in is indicative of the kind of leadership that they want to emulate. Apart from the Bay’a Qu’ran, the Interim Chief Minister will also deliver his vision for the Bangsamoro. As a member of the BTA, we are duly obligated to support each other’s collective vision, and to support how each member of the transition contributes to these changes.

As a member of the transition, my vision is one that encapsulates a whole of society approach in issues -- A sustainable, multifaceted, vibrant Bangsamoro that is empowered in both the public and private sectors. What does this entail?

In order to be a responsive, empathetic government, a key player is the youth sector. One of the reasons why so many legacies fail is because there is no proper turnover of leadership to the next generation. There are members of the Bangsamoro youth that are talented, capable, and intelligent enough to discuss important issues with government leaders.

An active youth means that there will be watchdogs and partners in the following key issues; rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus-oriented programs, equity and inclusiveness, effectivity and efficiency, accountability, and participation. A progressive nation needs the vitality and the energy of the youth, so as to create a meaningful legacy.

In addition to that, we must also invest in cultural resiliency. The Bangsamoro is like a tapestry, where all of the 13 tribes and indigenous peoples are woven together and made stronger. If we fail to empower one, the tapestry comes loose; how does that affect our way of governing if we alienate one group over another? As one Bangsamoro, as one entity, we must celebrate the strength of each cultural identity.

In order to enlighten each Bangsamoro, we must literally enlighten them. Power and energy are incredibly important resources, and we are in a unique position to marry both our needs and our responsibility to the environment. Geothermal, wind, solar -- these are all areas we can look at and invest in. A hybrid system of energy generation may be the key to creating not just more jobs, but more avenues for development. We have the Liguasan Marsh and Lake Lanao, as well as untapped resources in our island provinces that can be the key to upliftment.

Another area of development that we can look into are the expansion of economic zones, especially in agricultural and industrial development. We have rich farmlands and a large capacity for manpower, given the right training. One avenue in which to bring about change is in financial literacy and Islamic Finance, so that the people may be able to manage income and resources effectively.

Lastly, in order to maintain this development, we have to empower the democratic process. Our system of governing is in the creation of political parties that lobby for the interests of a sector or a demographic. These political parties play a role not just in this current political landscape, but for the future -- the Bangsamoro 2022 elections are closer than ever, and we must look forward to what happens after the transition. While we are in a privileged position, we know that this is only temporary. A more permanent way of seeing change is in empowered government participation, and this can only happen if the communities are well-served and have an active voice.

What I wish for the Bangsamoro is easier said than done, but with our shared visions, we can and will succeed. As we usher in a new era of governance in the BTA, we in this group would want to hear and learn from each other’s experiences. What is your vision for the Bangsamoro?


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