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Monday, September 20, 2021
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Lidasan: Towards One Bangsamoro

ASK any Bangsamoro about the current status of the Barmm and you will get different answers. The bottomline is how can we unite the Bangsamoro people and the Members of the Bangsamoro Parliament towards moral governance and effective delivery of services.

Last November 11-15, 2019, I attended a three-day training on "Negotiations and Consensus Building" for members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA). The said training was organized and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Clingendael Institute of Netherlands. One of the objectives of the training is to provide a proper platform for the BTA to discuss areas of collaboration and consensus building.

There were 12 members of the BTA who actively participated and volunteered to be part of the BTA Insider Mediators. Each one was bringing their own points of view and ways of building the Bangsamoro. Each one were coming from the different provinces of Mindanao.

The BTA is facing an internal challenge right of now. Due to technicalities of rules, the BTA needed to organize the majority block and the minority block. This imaginary divide brings a lot of challenges within the parliament. Our work in the BTA could have been made easier if we conducted this training early this year. However, due to our heavy work in the BTA, last week was the only free time for us to gather a small group of BTAs (coming from the majority, minority, MILF, MNLF, and government appointees).

One of the questions I asked myself during the training was "what unites us?"

As Bangsamoro, we share many common positive views of building our nation. Aside from these, what else unite us?

In trying to answer this question, I remember the final scene in the HBO series Game of Thrones. Tyrion Lannister delivered a speech to the lords and ladies of Westeros to find a new ruler to command the Seven Kingdoms.

“What unites people?” Tyrion asked. “Armies? Gold? Flags?” No. It’s stories, he said.

“There's nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story than Bran the Broken? The boy who fell from a high tower and lived... He's our memory. The keeper of all our stories. The wars, weddings, births, massacres, famines, our triumphs, our defeats, our past. Who better to lead us into the future?”

Relating this to the Bangsamoro, what will unite us? Aside from our faith, we need to look back of our shared history and look forward to our shared economic, environmental, social, and political interest as Bangsamoro. We are a diverse nation. We need to find ways for us to live in harmony with the indigenous peoples, Christian settlers, and Moro-IPs.

I asked another question, how can we make better use of our talents, skills, and experiences that unite us? For me, we just need to use our collective imagination. We need to work as one Bangsamoro.

As One Bangsamoro, we can start combining and utilizing the many areas we all share in common and have the passion to work for our people against all odds. The Barmm is the new platform for this. The Barmm brings us together to celebrate human potential and achievement -- we need more of that in all issues and concerns of our people. As One Bangsamoro, we each have something special to offer. Combining our skills and knowledge is a powerful catalyst for change.

The training made me realized the true potentials of One Bangsamoro. In the remaining days, months, and years we have in the transition, we all need to think and work as One Bangsamoro. Otherwise, we will never have the same opportunity to do so.


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