Cotabato City—The Bangsamoro government has opened its People’s Center here for a place of convergence to closely engage the basic sectors and boost participatory governance, officials said.
Bangsamoro Chief Minister Hadji Murad Ebrahim noted that some challenges in the transition have slowed down administrative functions in some offices of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The BARMM People’s Center was opened Friday “to provide a space for our clients and the civil society engagement on participatory governance,” said Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo.
Sinarmbo added: “This is our commitment to implement moral governance as espoused by the Chief Minister who honored us with his presence during the launch.”
Closer engagement with the people will help hasten the delivery of basic services in government operations, Ebrahim said.
He said the challenges of changes include adjustments in “transitioning [by most heads of offices] from revolutionary experience to the bureacratic governance.”
Ebrahim said another challenge is the changing of the government structure of the defunct ARMM to unitary form, “where there’s no separation but fusion of powers of the Executive and the Legislative Branches of Government.”
The third factor is the massive layoff of old ARMM employees, having potentially lost their positions under a new BARMM organizational structure.
Republic Act 11054, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, provides for packages of compensated separation for more than 6,000 affected employees.
Ebrahim was, in effect, responding to growing number of comments on social media platforms about a purported slow functioning of administrative services in BARMM.
A source from Malacanang said last month, BARMM returned to the national government about P900 million in unused maintenance and other operating expeditures funds.
Underspending in the government is an “unhealthy” economic indicator, according to the World Bank.
Funds under the modified disbursement system has a month-long validity “unless obligated ontime within that period for payments of current accounts,” the same source explained, asking that he would not be named for lack of official authority to speak on the issue for the Department of Budget and Management.
“[But] the chief minister is apparently informed ahead of time about official communiques, that at times he would look for documents that were addressed to, but not easily found until it was too late,” another source said when the top BARMM management was sought for comment.
Amid layoffs implemented in three batches of employees to be separated “• October, November, and December 2019 “• BARMM is operationally backed by current contracts of services side-by-side with holding of training programs and exams in time for recruitment of new emoloyees early next year.
An agency official said the office was “lucky to have received funds notices (days before they were supposed expire), though a bit late of operational schedules.”
Another incumbent official said the regional government should “check on (its) internal links for probable neglugence, and eirse yet deliberate acts against the principle of sound management through firm official responsibility and accountability.”
Insiders of the regional government have said Ebrahim is one of the coolest administrators they have had, neither seeing him look disappointed, nor get angry in all occasions.
Interestingly, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), despite a number of professionals among its members and sympathizers, had not brought in new employees to help BARMM administration handle sensitive documents on the basis of sheer trust and confidence.