Cotabato City—The UN, through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), will continue working with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on expanding networks of regional and local e-governance platforms.
Scheduled to start after the May elections, an expanded regional connectivity through a BARMM-UNDP collaboration agreement will digitize government services across all BARMM ministries, while simplifying processes at local level, officials said.
Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, head of BARMM’s Ministry of the Interior and Local Government, said a memorandum of agreement providing an expanded cooperation on digitalizing governance in BARMM has been signed between MILG and the UNDP.
Digitalization forms part of the moral governance that the BARMM leadership is pushing, and is a continuing project that took off in 2020 from a P300 million UNDP funding program for BARMM development.
Sinarimbo thanked BARMM Chief Minister Murad Ibrahim for allowing the partnership agreement to push through an expanded coverage to include other regional agencies of BARMM, from the initial target of completing the loops at LGUs level of e-connectivity.
The MILG chief signed the new MOA with Dr. Selva Ramachandran, the UNDP country representative who was here on Friday.
For his part, Dr. Ramachandran commended the regional government for adopting innovations.
“During the pandemic, we’ve seen the role of digitalization in our daily lives. Our initiatives now will not only help us during this time but will also prepare ourselves to deliver seamless services in the future,” Dr. Ramachandran said.
The MILG minister said the development tie-up took off from MILG’s Localizing e-Governance for Accelerated Provision of Services (LeAPS) program, designed to improve efficiency in local governance and service delivery across the Bangsamoro region.
He said the BARMM-MILG-UNDP partnership bore its first fruits of success from two pilot areas of digitalized local governance in Butig and Piagapo in Lanao del Sur.
The expanded collaboration will “enable citizens of the region to capitalize on the benefits of digitalization and build capacities on improved access to services and information, community enterprise development, and skills development.”
First launched in Butig and Piagapo in October 2020, LeAPS is a collaborative project between MILG and UNDP to provide more effective and efficient ways in the delivery of government services, aided by digital technology, a BARMM statement said.
Sinarimbo said LeAPS has been geared towards transforming local governance in the region by significantly accelerating connectivity in communities and enabling citizens to capitalize on the benefits of digitalization.
“When it was still in its early stage as a project, its scope was very specific then, and because we met our target objectives from the two pilot sites, we are now expanding it to the whole region,” Sinarimbo explained.
He said the MILG is one of the ministries that will join the journey through digital transformation, citing an example that: “issuance of a travel authority for local executives will soon be made possible by the fingertips.”
A check bearing the amount of P166 million from UNDP was issued in last week’s signing ceremonies.