YESTERDAY was the sixth full session of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, and it is really clear that we as a body need to hit the ground running. Since our inauguration last February, there have been many meetings and discussions regarding the bills we should prioritize. Although we have priorities such as the
As a Member of Parliament, we need to focus on the following priority legislation, namely; the Bangsamoro Administrative Code, the Bangsamoro Revenue Code, the Bangsamoro Electoral Code, the Bangsmaoro Local Government Code, and the Bangsamoro Education Code.
Three years is too short for us to finish all these landmark codes that the Bangsamoro needs in order for the Barmm to fulfill its promise of lasting peace in Mindanao. These bills need not only be made into law, but be made operational, by the time of the first Bangsamoro elections in 2022. Time is of the essence, and we need to move as one body in order to see it through to the timeline we need.
As the members of parliament come from different backgrounds, having different perspectives is an advantage. It means that we can hear voices from groups that would otherwise be forgotten. However, this also needs the backing of a strong secretariat within both the parliament and the executive department.
As I was listening to the privilege speeches, I was really struck by how deeply embedded these ideals are in each and every member. A post shared by fellow BTA Member Maisara Dandamun-Latiph showed that the people listening to the speeches inside the hall were visibly emotional.
The first person to speak, MP Susan Anayatin, spoke for the concerns of the Christian settlers who live in the Bangsamoro. She is urging the government to create an office for them, as well as to address the fears of their community as a minority in the Barmm.
The second person, MP Abdullah “Commander Bravo” Macapaar spoke about legislation that his local community needs. Hailing from Lanao del Norte, he is advocating for the Bangsamoro who live in the 6 municipalities that do not belong to the Barmm. Marawi City is also a concern as there are still internally displaced persons and fear-mongering in the area.
He also called for an end to corruption in the government, especially in regards to nepotism in our ranks. Allowing relatives who do not have the technical experience to operate in an executive or legislative capacity will lower the trust of the people in the government. As government workers, they must set aside their previous grievances with the government as they are now also part of it.
Now, more than ever, we must keep the ball rolling. My fellow MP’s have been extremely vocal in the needs of their communities, and these issues are also a priority for the Bangsamoro. Either we stand together in our capacity as a government and as people, or not at all. Not only must we strengthen our MP’s as they deal with the work, but to also empower their technical staff. The administrative and operational duty of our government workers is an example of how a collective can make a large difference. They are not the ones who are being reported on or shown in the media, but the Barmm is need of qualified, competent, and morally-sound people.
All our paperwork and legislative work needs to be strong in that it is drafted well, written concisely and effectively illustrates the programs and projects that we need for the Barmm. The playing field is different, and we must all ready ourselves to live up to the challenges before us.
As private citizens and institutions, one can also be of service. I am calling on our local and international partners to assist and help the Barmm come up with solutions to these technical concerns, and to help capacitate our government to craft the legislation that the people are clamoring for. The Bangsamoro is a priority that is, at long last, being attended to. Let us ensure that our stakeholders will receive these services in due course.