Bangsamoro press corps weekly forum starts Aug. 21

By Ali G. Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Press Corps (BPC) is set to launch its weekly media forum on Aug. 21, hoping the physical and virtual conferences will ventilate national and regional issues concerning public welfare.

In a virtual meeting I hosted on Sunday, corps officers have agreed to hold the “Tapatan sa BPC” maiden episode at 10a.m. to12noon at the studio of the Bandera FM news network in Midsayap, North Cotabato in consideration of its existing setup apt for the purpose.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, spokesperson and Local Government minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal and regional parliament Deputy Speaker Zia Alonto-Adiong have been eyed as maiden resource persons in the weekly forum.

The interviewers’ panel will seek updates from Sinarimbo and Iqbal on the latest coordination with Congress leaders on the bills proposing the postponement of the 2022 parliament election and extension of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) operations to 2025.

Iqbal, co-chair for BARMM of the Inter-Governmental Relations Body, and Sinarimbo, an IGRB member, will also be asked to update the public on the latest decisions of the bilateral body concerning cumbersome devolution of powers and resources of national line agencies to the new autonomous government.

Deputy Speaker Adiong, for his part, is expected to talk about his recent privilege speeches in the BTA Parliament, particularly on a central government’s controversial plan to stop providing national subsidies to at least seven state universities located in the autonomous region.

The panel of interviewers believed that Iaqbal, current head of the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE), will be able complement Adiong’s views on the education-related discussion.

According to latest published reports, public confusion remained high on issues about lack of maintenance funds for all national highways in the autonomous region and the absence of authority by the BARMM government over higher or exorbitant passenger transport fares local routes, especially along the Marawi City-Cotabato City highway.

Many quarters are likewise demanding updates on whether or not the election-postponing bills will hurdle the Senate and the House of Representatives. Such anxiety will hopefully be resolved in the “Tapatan sa BPC” maiden and following episodes.

Station Manager Benny Queman, who is also one of BPC vice presidents, welcomed the idea of hosting the first leg of the weekly forum set every Saturday from 10a.m. to 12noon.

This writer, serving as club president, will discuss with fellow officers the next venues of “Tapatan sa BPC” episodes in coming weeks.

Also present at Sunday’s virtual meeting were BPC Vice Presidents Queman, Erwin Cabilbigan and John Unson, treasurer Ella Dayawan, and Board of Director member Dhen Kadatuan. (AGM)

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