Bangsamoro development a priority of the Marcos admin — Sec. Galvez

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 02 December) – The development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is at the centerpiece of government efforts under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., according to Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., chief of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU).

“We saw the discussion of the President after we reorganized the OPPAP, more than half of personnel will be dedicated to Bangsamoro. In fact, we assigned more than 200 personnel for implementation of the Bangsamoro and IGRB (Intergovernmental Relations Body),” Galvez said in a press conference at the Malacañan of the South in Davao City on Thursday.

OPAPP stands for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the old name of OPAPRU.

Galvez said the IGRB is one of the major components in implementing the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The 22-member IGRB is an “institutional mechanism created under the Bangsamoro Organic Law that enhances the cooperation, increases coordination, and greater convergence between agencies of the BARMM and the National government.”

Map of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in relation to Mindanao. BARMM comprises the provinces of Maguindanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Sur and Lanao del Sur in the mainland and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi, the cities of Marawi, Lamitan and Cotabato and 63 villages in six North Cotabato towns that voted for inclusion in the BARMM in February 2019. Map courtesy of the BARMM website.

Bangsamoro Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal said BARMM’s contribution to the national development is to make sure that the regional government functions efficiently.

He said several issues were discussed during the meeting of the IGRB members here, including “bilateral decisions” between the national government and Bangsamoro.

He, however, refrained from disclosing the details of the discussion pending signatures of the chairs of the body.

Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, IGRB co-chair, added that they agreed to convene the rest of the intergovernmental bodies before the end of this year.

Aside from Galvez, the IGRB members from the national government include Special Assistant to the President Sec. Antonio Ernesto F. Lagdameo, Jr., Finance Sec. Benjamin F. Diokno, Interior and Local Government Sec. Benhur C. Abalos, Jr., Defense Sec. Jose C. Faustino, Jr., Public Works and Highways Sec. Manuel M. Bonoan, Energy Sec. Raphael P.M. Lotilla, Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban, Transportation Sec. Jaime J. Bautista, Economic and Development Authority Sec. Arsenio M. Balisacan.

For the BARMM, the members are Speaker of the Bangsamoro Parliament Ali Pangalian M. Balindong, Senior Minister MP Abdulraof A. Macacua, Cabinet Secretary Mohd Asnin K. Pendatun, Finance, Budget and Management Min. Ubaida C. Pacasem, Interior and Local Government Min. Naguib G. Sinarimbo, Social Services Min. Raissa H. Jajurie, Public Works Min. Eduard U. Guerra, Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform Min. Mohammad S. Yacob, Environment Min. Akmad A. Brahim, and Transportation and Communications Min. Paisalin C. Tago.

Lagdameo said Marcos had given instructions to provide assistance to operationalize all mechanisms for integration of BARMM with the rest of the Philippines.

“Whatever is needed by BARMM, we will try to put it all together. His instructions are to make sure we can facilitate this and make sure we finish this as soon as we can,” he added.

He said the President is looking forward to a better relationship between BARMM and the national government.

“Rest assured, we are backing up everyone here. We are here to assist and we are here to help,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)