By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – With the approval by Congress and Malacañang of an additional three-year transition period for the interim Bangsamoro governance, concerned entities from the international community have renewed assistance to help bring the new autonomous region to greater heights.
Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) spokesman Naguib Sinarimbo said United Nations’ (UN’s) member-agencies have geared up to “increase presence” in the region in what he described as vital in setting up a robust system of governance in the area of autonomy.
BARMM is composed of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces, the cities of Marawi, Lamitan and Cotabato and the 63 autonomy-opting barangays in North Cotabato.
On Wednesday, the UN Country Team led by the Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator Gustavo Gonzales held a first-ever team meeting here to map out specific intervening efforts for BARMM development.
Sinarimbo, who is BARMM’s Local Government minister, said he was “honored” by the meeting organizer to deliver the opening message for the convergence.
“The UN is set to increase its presence in the (BARMM) which bodes well for the region as it renews its commitment to partner with international development agencies. The global experiences of the different agencies of the UN will be a valuable input in shaping the development and humanitarian work of the Bangsamoro Government,” he said.
The UN team’s event followed the formal launch here of a P1.5-billion program for the BARMM governance by the European Union (EU) last Nov. 15.
EU Ambassador Luc Veron alongside BARMM Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua and Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal led the kick-off ceremony for the program, dubbed as Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA), at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Center here.
Interim BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim and Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Carlos Galvez Jr. graced the event virtually, delivering messages in immense appreciation for the EU intervention.
The SUBATRA program has been designed to fortify capacity-building in BARMM’s legislative, executive and judicial operations to help the new autonomous governance make the difference in the evolution of autonomy for Bangsamoro, it was learned. (AGM)