Bangsamoro region’s bureaucracy completed

Published August 11, 2019, 8:09 PM

by Rica Arevalo

By Ali Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – The interim bureaucracy of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will be completed with the phase-out of over 34,000 personnel positions of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by January 2020.

former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) executive secretary lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
BARMM Spokesman and Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo

BARMM spokesman and Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo announced the completion of the transition in an interview on Friday over the state-run People’s Television Network.

Sinarimbo said the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim regional governing body, approved in its July session the transition plan containing the modalities of BARMM’s full transformation from ARMM.

“By the end of December this year, the BARMM bureaucracy will be fully organized and the ARMM (organizational) structures phased out in succeeding month (January 2020),” he said.

President Duterte inaugurated the BTA and its parliament last March, following the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law – R.A. 11054 or BARMM charter – in the January and February plebiscites.

In February, the President appointed members of the 80-man BTA and named Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chair Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim as interim Chief Minister. Ebrahim subsequently appointed 11 members of the regional cabinet, which integrated functions and workforces of the defunct ARMM agencies.

For the instance, the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) have been merged into the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE) headed by Minister Mohagher Oqbal, MILF’s second vice chairman.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the would-be devolved Department of Energy (DoE) has become the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy (MENRE) headed by Minister Abadulraof Macacua, chief of staff of the MILF armed wing – the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).

Thirty percent of the BIAF’s 12,000 combatants will undergo the first of a three-phase process on Sept. 7 in a ceremony expected to be attended by President Duterte. A total of 2,100 assorted firearms will be turned over during the ceremony, Sinarimbo said.

He also said the approved transition plan contains the interim regional government’s 12-point agenda, which prescribes among others for a revenue code to intensify local income generation and minimize dependence on the annual block grant of P60-billion for the first 10 years of BARMM operation.

The block grant will start trickling down to BARMM next year through automatic appropriation and downloading to the regional government. The interim regional government has absorbed the P32.2-billion budget appropriated last year for 2019 by the national government.

Sinarimbo said the agenda also calls for “moral governance” in all government instrumentalities in BARMM, which include the local government units of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur (including Marawi City), Basilan including Lamitan City), Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and the city of Cotabato as well as 63 barangays in six North Cotabato towns.

Another feature of the agenda, he said, is the strengthening of social services down to the barangays so that “village people would no longer be reported as served in (statistical) figures.”

“Presently, regional social services are done in the municipal level. BARMM ministries have already started bringing to the barangay level their manpower and services,” Sinarimbo said.