BARMM lawmakers push equal distribution of employment among Muslim provinces

By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL

COTABATO CITY: The Bangsamoro members of the Parliament have filed a bill ensuring that appointments to public service are equally distributed among the diverse groups in the region or to all provinces.

Member of Parliament Engr. Don Mustapha Loong. (Supplied photo)

It can be recalled that the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is composed of the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi (BaSulTa) and the mainland provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur and Cotabato City as well.

Member of Parliament Engr. Don Mustapha Loong filed Parliament Bill No. 168, otherwise known as “The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity in Public Service Act of 2022.” He said this is in recognition of the cultural and religious diversity in the Bangsamoro region.

MP Loong on Wednesday said the proposed measure that he authored required the Chief Minister, the Bangsamoro Parliament, cabinet members, and other officials with appointing authority to ensure that appointments to positions at the regional offices are distributed equally across provinces and cities.

The bill emphasizes that each Moro tribe, such as Maranao, Maguindanaon, Tausug, Iranun, Yakan, and Sama, including representatives from non-Moro tribes, Indigenous peoples like the Badjao, and settler communities in the Bangsamoro, are equitably represented.

Appointing authorities in the local government units should also ensure that people from minority groups or tribes within their jurisdiction are equitably represented in their offices, without prejudice to the provisions of the Indigenous People’s Representation Act (IPRA).

“Appointment to public office in the Bangsamoro shall be free of discrimination based on tribal or cultural affiliation membership in any organization or religion,” MP Loong emphasized.

Except in the absence of a qualified applicant from a different tribal or cultural background, the minister, director, or head of each ministry, bureau, agency, or office as well as the deputy minister, assistant director, or assistant chief of office or agency shall not belong to the same tribal affiliation.

In addition to the qualifications prescribed by the Bangsamoro Civil Service Code (CSC) and other laws, no person shall be appointed to any position at the provincial or local office of any ministry unless they are a permanent resident of the said province.

Under the proposed bill, the Bangsamoro government will continuously provide public service training programs on diversity, cultural and religious understanding, and other interventions designed to produce a cohesive and all-inclusive Bangsamoro constituency.

If passed into law, all concerned agencies and instrumentalities of the regional government must develop an All-Inclusive Focal Point System (AIFPS), designate a focal person, and demonstrate and accelerate all-inclusiveness within the agency. (JIJ)

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