The national government will soon be transferring several of its operational functions as well as properties to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
This developed as both the national and regional governments agreed to re-establish the Department of Foreign Affairs consular office and set up a Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) regional office in the BARMM.
These were among the key agreements reached in the 13thIntergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB) meeting in Pasig City on Feb. 24.
BARMM Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal, the IGRB co-chair for the Bangsamoro government, underscored the body’s goal of bringing government services closer to the Bangsamoro people.
“In essence, we desired to bring government services that are not currently being offered by the Bangsamoro Government, closer to the Bangsamoro people. This further gives meaning to the work that we do in the IGR Body; by not limiting our conversations to matters that present conflict or require non-adversarial dispute resolution,” Iqbal said.
BARMM Interior and Local Governments Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said“several issues were discussed and directives as to concrete steps to take ahead were agreed.”
Budget and Management Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman, the IGRBco-chairperson for the national government, disclosed other major issues that are being discussed by the body’s technical working groups.
The IGRB is supported by a Joint Secretariat co-headed by OPAPRU Presidential Assistant Wilben M. Mayor and Bangsamoro Attorney-General Sha Elijah B. Dumama-Alba.
“Two issues on the agenda were resolved including the reestablishment of the DFA’s consular office in Cotabato City for BARMM,” Sinarimbo added.
The DFA held a consular office in Cotabato City, but it ceased to operate. Meanwhile, the PRC has no satellite office within the region,and so setting up a satellite office will ease for BARMM professionals their application for renewal of professional licenses.
Other issues taken up, Pangandaman said, were the conduct of the annual Hajj and Umrah; the nationwide recognition of the Bangsamoro Land Transportation Office (BLTO); and the transfer of properties from the national government to the Bangsamoro government.
“With these achievements in only six months’ time, I know that we will soon see a more united Philippines, where no Filipino is left behind, (and) not even those in the farthest areas of BARMM,” Pangandaman said.
She expressed hopes that the body will be able to bring prosperity to the region, saying, “There is still much work to be done ahead. But I hope that with these achievements in just a few months’ time, we are all inspired to continue working hard towards our Agenda for Prosperity in BARMM.”
Iqbal lauded what he described as “the excellent working relationship between the National and Bangsamoro governments.”
Iqbal cited the IGRB for working overtime, saying: “Notwithstandingthe President’s declaration that today is a special non-working holiday, all of us chose to be present here today as a gesture of mutual commitment to the strong cooperation and coordination between the national government and the Bangsamoro government, in the name of public service.”
Also present during the meeting were Defense Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. and Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno.
Under Section 2, Article VI of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the IGRB was created as a coordinative body tasked to resolve issues between the two parties through regular consultation and continuing negotiation in a non-adversarial manner.
Among the national agencies represented in the IGRB meeting were Office of Special Assistant to the President, Finance, Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, Public Works and Highways, Agriculture Senior Transportation, National Economic and Development, and the Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, which was attended by its Acting OPAPRU Isidro L. Purisima.