Category: BTA

‘Mental health care should be a reality’, says MP Mitmug as bill enters second reading

Full text of MP Rasol Mitmug’s SPONSORSHIP SPEECH ON BILL 147 OR THE BANGSAMORO MENTAL HEALTH ACT OF 2021 delivered last November 25, 2021:

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, honorable members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, ladies and gentlemen, Assalamu alaikum Warahmatullahi taala Wabarakatuh. Good afternoon to all.

We are pleased that the bill, Bangsamoro Mental Health Act of 2021, has now entered the second reading. We thank the members of the parliament who co-authored with us in this measure.

Mental Health is as important as physiological health. This statement, more than ever, reflects the challenges that we encounter as we face this pandemic. Mental health is a rapidly growing concern and we are giving attention to this matter as we address various health needs of our communities in the Bangsamoro. Daily we struggle with stress and anxiety which make mental health concerns serious matter. Stigma on mental illness should never be a hindrance in responding to this critical crisis.

Remember that in this uncertain moments to be kind to yourself, be kind to your mind. But what does it really mean?  Mr. Speaker, we sponsor this bill because all sectors, including employees, students, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions, have been particularly affected by the pandemic. Such effect has been magnified for those with pre-existing mental health issues, they have to suffer more than most because their access to medication is disrupted by the pandemic.

Mr. Speaker, when the pandemic broke out, this representation, together with the Health Organization for Mindanao (HOM), created an online platform which aims to respond to the common mental health needs of communities. Modules and materials have been improved to focus more on Islamic Mental Health (IMH) and are readily available on the IMH website and facebook page. When asked about our motivation for giving attention to mental health, we recounted our local experiences during the Yolanda disaster, Marawi conflict and Mamasapano encounter. The communities directly affected by these crises experienced depressive symptoms and other mental health concerns but less attention was given to that matter. Taking care of mental health can be easily overlooked, hence, efforts concerning mental health in the region should be initiated and supported.

While challenges on mental health is a growing health concern in the region, it is timely that the Bangsamoro region is still on its transition period, thus, codes are still being drafted. Particularly, measures on mental health can still be incorporated by the BTA members which can safeguard the general welfare of BARMM constituents should another pandemic and even other forms of disaster affecting mental health arise. Mental health care should be a reality. Hence, the very essence of this bill.

During the World Health Assembly in May 2021, governments from around the world recognized the need to scale up quality mental health services at all levels. And some countries have found new ways of providing mental health care to their populations. Our new normal entails a lot of adjustments in our lifestyles, our work schedules, and our children’s schooling. But our new normal should also include major improvements in our public health system and policies and in how we protect our health, both body and mind.

As an autonomous government, it is thus proper for the Bangsamoro region to establish its own Bangsamoro Council for Mental Health, which will be responsible for recommending programs, projects, and policies for the mental health and well-being of the Bangsamoro people. As the region’s inter-agency body on mental health, they will be better capacitated to implement the recommendations mentioned earlier. We also call for educational institutions to adopt a social, emotional and ethical learning approach that integrates the trauma-informed approach increases, and as disasters are expected to increase even more given the worrisome climate change.

In view of the foregoing, the support of all the Members of the Parliament for the prompt passage of this measure is earnestly sought.

Thank you, my dear colleagues. Thank you, Mr. Speaker

The bill was filed in the BTA parliament on November 2, 2021 with MP Rasol Mitmug, Jr. as main author.

Years in Review: MP Mitmug’s service to the Bangsamoro

As 2022 approaches, it is worth taking a few minutes to look back and highlight the major accomplishments and achievements of the Office of MP Mitmug Jr. in its effort to fulfill its mandate and commitment to the Bangsamoro as Member of the Parliament.

Even with the ongoing pandemic, this Office remained faithful to its core while positively impacting those around them.

Click here to download the 2019-2021 Accomplishment Report 

BARMM lawmakers push to establish Transitional Justice Reconciliation mechanisms

COTABATO CITY – To address legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, historical injustices, human rights violations, and marginalization through land dispossession, some members of the Bangsamoro Parliament pushed for the establishment of Transitional Justice and Reconciliation (TJR) mechanisms.

The principal author of the four legislative measures, Minority Leader Atty. Laisa Alamia said that one of the actions the regional government must do is to empower the Bangsamoro people as active participants in the collective pursuit of transitional justice.

 “This is crucial if we are to restore and reinforce relationships anchored by faith and confidence among our region’s diverse communities, which will then enhance social cohesion during the process of political transition,” Atty. Alamia said.

She emphasized that the institutionalization of the TJR mechanisms is fundamental to the peacebuilding process.

Among the proposed legislative measures on TJR includes strengthening the regional TJR program, providing benefits for the Bangsamoro veteran Mujahideen and Mujahidat, creating the regional TJR Commission, establishing Bangsamoro Health Care Subsidy Program, and providing for the documentation of human rights violations during the armed conflict in Mindanao.

On strengthening the regional TJR program and creating the TJR Commission

The proposed Parliament Bill 140 aims to establish a Regional Transitional Justice Program to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people.

It also aims to provide venues for the victims of conflict to be heard and mechanisms for investigating serious violations of international human rights law and allowing inquiries into specific events of the armed conflict.

The bill also proposed creating a Regional TJR Commission on the Bangsamoro, which will serve as the primary organ of the Bangsamoro government in designing, formulating, and implementing transitional justice and reconciliation programs and mechanisms.

In crafting the mechanisms, the Regional Commission shall be guided by a framework dealing with the past that respects, protects, and fulfills the right to truth, justice, and reparation of the victims and ensures non-recurrence of any violation.

On establishing the Bangsamoro Health Care Subsidy Program

The Bangsamoro Organic Law places health services within the powers and jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro government, ensuring and supporting the promotion of health and safety in the region.

The proposed Bangsamoro Health Care Subsidy Program aims to establish a health and social protection program to enable the conflict-affected population of the Bangsamoro to live decent lives by assisting them in accessing quality and affordable health care.

Key components of the program are a health card system that will provide cardholders with subsidized health care services, an efficient network of institutional health care providers, a system of contracting private health care facilities, multi-sectoral and progressive effort to improve public health facilities, and sustainable funding through earmarked revenues or shares in revenues.

Beneficiaries of the program will be former combatants, their dependents, human rights violation victims, and individuals displaced in the region due to armed conflict or clan feud.

On providing documentation of human rights violations

“Establishing a system for comprehensive human rights violations documentation across the region is integral to the truth-seeking process in the Bangsamoro,” MP Alamia said.

Under the proposed Parliament Bill 142, the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission is tasked with establishing the facts about incidents and allegations of human rights violations, creating a database of human rights violations, including a registry and sectoral mapping of identified victims.

In the process of documenting and investigating past human rights violations, the proposed bill will focus on the following “emblematic cases in the past”:

Jabidah Massacre; the burning of Jolo in 1974, Malisbong Massacre; campaign of Ilaga in Mindanao in 1970-1972; Manili Massacre; Massacres in Lamitan City, Tuburan, and Bagumbayan in Sultan Kudarat; Maguindanao Massacre; killings by the SCAA employed by David Consunji Inc; Tingin-Tingin Massacre; Pata Massacre; fight erupted in Upi and Cotabato in 1970-1971; after the Ilaga launched its campaign of terror against the Moro and Indigenous civilian population; MNLF clashed with the AFP before 1977; clashes between government and MILF between 1996 and 2000; and fight between military and rebel forces in February 2003 and August 2008.

As stated in the proposed bill, it is the Bangsamoro government’s responsibility to ensure that the recognition of past human rights violations and the victims are included in the development of the Bangsamoro Historical Memory.

On providing benefits for Bangsamoro veteran Mujahideen and Mujahidat

With the aim of establishing, developing, and promoting a perfect pension system that will cater to the needs of Mujahideen and Mujahidat of the Bangsamoro, the proposed Parliament Bill 143 was also introduced in the plenary.

Mujahideen and mujahidat, as defined on the bill, are the male and female combatants who, in the service of the Moro revolutionary fronts, took part in the protracted wars for self-determination between the Bangsamoro people and the Philippine government.

This bill seeks to provide benefits for the mujahideen and mujahidat who have not been found guilty of a gross human rights violation while in the service, as certified by the BHRC or CHR.

Non-pension benefits include education, burial, and hospitalization, while pension benefits include old age, death, and disability.

These measures, according to Atty. Alamia, will help address generational concerns like poverty and hunger, entrenched in the region’s history of violence and conflict.

Other authors of the legislative measures are Majority Leader Atty. Lanang Ali Jr., Atty. Rasol Mitmug, Atty. Suharto Ambolodto, Rasul Ismael, Amilbahar Mawallil, Engr. Baintan Ampatuan, and Engr. Don Loong. (Publication and Media Relations Division)

*Originally published by the BTA-Publication and Media Relations Division (

BARMM solon pushes for creation of regional ecozone authority

COTABATO CITY – A bill has been filed with the regional parliament seeking to propel economic development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through the creation of a regional ecozone agency.

On Friday, Member of Parliament (MP) Amir Mawallil, a former journalist-turned-BARMM legislator, said he filed Parliament Bill 129, otherwise known as the Bangsamoro Economic Zone Act of 2021, to create the Bangsamoro Economic Zone Authority (BEZA).

“The creation of the BEZA will generate jobs, especially in the rural areas, increase their productivity and their individual and family income, and ultimately to improve the level and quality of their living condition,” Mawallil said of the proposal he submitted before the Bangsamoro Transition Authority plenary on Thursday afternoon.

In particular, he said the bill intends to promote the flow of investors into the region, which would then generate employment opportunities for the Bangsamoro people and ensure that products unique to the region gain considerable access to the domestic and global markets.

“Upcoming economic zones that will be established in the region shall be developed into decentralized, self-reliant, and sustainable agro-industrial and commercial investment centers, which shall be operated and treated as a separate customs territory,” he said.

Once formed, the Bangsamoro economic zones, which will be developed in different key areas across the region, will assist the regional government to entice international markets, as well as local and foreign investors, to take notice of the resources and investment desirability of the BARMM.

The local economic zones are also expected to facilitate the marketing and export of goods and services produced by several industries.

Mawallil said the emerging global and regional opportunities for Halal and Islamic finance, as well as the strong support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to peace and development, promises well for the region’s socio-economic development, through the creation of the BEZA.

The lawmaker from Sulu said he is confident and optimistic that the passage of the BEZA Act will capitalize on the rich natural resources that BARMM has, in addition to several comparative advantages that can be utilized to improve the current state of the region, its government, and its people.

The bill is supported and co-sponsored by MPs Laisa Alamia, Baintan Ampatuan, Suharto Ambolodto, Don Mustapha Loong, Rasol Mitmug Jr., Abraham Burahan, and Sittie Shahara Mastura. (PNA)

*Originally published on Philippine News Agency (

Bangsamoro Parliament pushes for more hospital creation, improvement in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur

COTABATO CITY—The Bangsamoro Parliament, which continues to prioritize the health care needs of the Bangsamoro people, has pushed for more hospital buildings and upgrades.

“A recent visit by the members of the Parliament in various areas revealed the need for the public infrastructure that will serve its constituents. One of the recommendations was establishing a municipal hospital that will answer the medical needs of constituents,” Parliament member Atty. Maisara Damdamun-Latiph, proponent of two hospital bills, said.

Three hospital bills were discussed in the plenary, one of which aimed to upgrade a district hospital in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, with 100 bed-capacity, and the other two aimed to establish municipal and provincial hospitals in Lanao del Sur.

The Datu Odin Sinsuat District Hospital now has a bed limit of 50, but according to Latiph, this is no longer sufficient to accommodate the high influx of patients requiring health care.

She said that increasing the hospital’s capacity to 100 and adding medical staff will provide adequate health care to a more significant number of residents in the community.

Similarly, the establishment of municipal and provincial hospitals, both with 25 beds in LDS, aspires to serve the people with “highly accessible, affordable, comprehensive total health care services.”

Parliament Bill 126, a measure eyeing for improving the district medical facility in DOS, was introduced in the first reading by MPs Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan, Dr. Zul Qarneyn Abas, Engr. Baintan Adil-Ampatuan, and Dr. Susana Anayatin.

While Parliament Bills 114 and 123, which seek to create hospitals in LDS, were tackled in the second reading.

Both were referred to committees on health and finance, budget, and management.

MPs Atty. Maisara Damdamun-Latiph and Dr. Zul Qarneyn Abas principally authored the bills with MPs Ziaur-Rahman Adiong, Hadji Abduladzis Esmael, Faiz Allaudin, Don Mustapha Loong, Sultan Edrieza Rimbang, Muslima Asmawil, Dr. Susana Anayatin, Narciso Yu Ekey, Alzad Sattar, Mudjib Abu, Abdulmuhumin Hashim, Sittie Shahara Mastura, Paisalin Tago, Rasol Mitmug Jr., Suwaib Oranon, Eddie Alih, Ibrahim Ali, Melanio Ulama, Said Salendab, Aida Silongan, Romeo Sema, Ali Sangki, Ali Salik, Bainon Karon, and Bai Maleiha Candao as co-authors. (Publication and Media Relations Division)

*Originally published by the BTA-Publication and Media Relations Division (