One of the intrinsic elements of Good Governance is Participation. Through this element, governments are given access to important information about the needs and priorities of individuals, communities and all other stakeholders including private businesses. Studies have shown that governments that involve the public are in a better position to make good decisions. This can be mainly attributed to the knowledge, data and public support gathered for its proposed policies, programs and activities through citizen participation and ultimately community engagement.
Over the years, the concept of participation has evolved into pro-active paradigm of citizen or community engagement. The key difference between mere citizen participation and citizen engagement is that citizen engagement requires an active, intentional dialogue between citizens and public decision makers whereas citizen participation can come from citizens only. The Office of MP Rasol Mitmug Jr. has taken on the pro-active task of engaging citizens and communities.
Mitmug strongly believes in the importance of citizen engagement thru community engagement activities. He views these activities as inextricably linked with effective and responsive legislative process. As a legislator, he aims to advocate and foster a consultative culture in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. Community engagements like consultations will encourage participation of people affected by or interested in any of the BTA proposed legislations. He expects that decisions on policies, programs or projects that are based on data from citizens and stakeholders will be more effective and will enjoy more support from BARMM constituency.
As a seasoned legislator, Mitmug has instilled in his office the core value of participation and consultation. He has begun institutionalizing the conduct of community consultation through town hall meetings as a core activity of his and his office’s legislative process. His office has been actively seeking out leaders, people and communities for consultation. The MP himself has met with several key leaders of different LGUs and key institutions to lay the ground for community engagement activities. In his first 100 days he has met with local leaders and key institutional figures to jumpstart the initiative.
So far, the office of MP Mitmug has conducted town hall meetings in the following areas: Marawi City (September 27, 2022), Municipality of Saguairan (October 11, 2022), Municipality of Lumba- Bayabao (October 25, 2022), Municipality of Binidayan, Lanao del Sur (November 22, 2022). Meanwhile in Maguindanao, the Office has conducted three townhall meetings which include Bagua II and Biniruan in Cotabato City and South Upi in Maguindanao.
During these town hall meetings affected and interested parties are presented with information and they are given equal opportunity to participate in the consultation process. Town hall meetings enable a particular community to come together on issues and projects of significance. This process helps improve relationships within the community and the relationship of the said community with the government.
The ultimate goal of community engagement is to enhance decision making by creating links with stakeholders. By conducting town hall meetings in various areas MP Mitmug and his office are able to create a better understanding of BTA’s role and responsibilities in many of the Bangsamoro communities. These activities can gather data and can provide measures to promote better understanding of financial and legislative requirements for various issues and concerns of said communities. The knowledge and data gathered in these activities can be used to assist the BTA to deliver better services. Mitmug has also been one of the Members of the Parliament who has been invited in numerous talks and dialogues of different organizations in the hopes of an expansive discussion of important and timely topics in relation to the BARMM.
Participation and citizen engagement are essential components of democracy at work within the paradigm of good governance. Good government depends on the ability to exercise power and to make good decisions over time, across a spectrum of economic, social, environmental and other areas. The government’s capacity for knowledge, mediation, resource allocation, implementation and maintenance of key relationships will be the measures of future and sustainable success of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.