THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged local government units (LGUs) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm) to support the interim regional government despite the peculiarities and differences in political beliefs and customs in order to open the doors for unity and harmony among its people.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said Tuesday, July 16, there is no room for failure in the transition of the Barmm, which he said is another opportunity for a change and fresh start in the region.
“We cannot afford to fail in Barmm because this does not only represent the long years of struggle of Muslim Filipinos for meaningful autonomy but this is also a rare chance for the long forsaken and embattled region to start a new chapter in their region’s history,” said Año.
“Kailangan nating magkaisa upang magkaroon ng kapayapaan at kaunlaran hindi lamang sa Barmm, kundi sa buong Pilipinas. Ngunit mangyayari lang iyon kapag ang mga desisyon natin may konsiderasyon sa kalagayan ng kapwa Pilipino -- maging ano man ang paniniwala, kultura, o lahi,” he added.
DILG officials conducted Monday, July 15, a meeting with governors and mayors of Barmm where they discussed delineation of the roles and functions of the national government, Barmm and LGUs in view of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
Año said the local officials sought for a greater communication between them and the Barmm regional government.
The LGU officials also said some of them are hardly supporting the transition simply because they did not vote for the BOL.
Año, however, ensured support to the local executives transition process and onwards, reiterating the role of DILG to facilitate consensus with the regional government and the LGUs on the best ways forward through the Intergovernmental Relations mechanism and other informal means.
“We need to consult each other, and plan and craft the future together,” he said.
“The DILG will be the link of the Barmm to the National Government and to the president. All of these will be defined. The DILG will be the enablers [of Barmm] where we will exercise supervision,” he added.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya expressed willingness to help the local officials address their concern, including the continuation of projects started by Armm that were discontinued or currently suspended.
“It is incumbent upon the government to ensure the success of the Barmm as they are transitioning from Armm to Barmm. Barmm is the litmus test for federalism. The success of Barmm and its constituent LGUs is the success of the cause of federalism,” he said.
Barmm is composed of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City, and 63 barangays in North Cotabato. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)