COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Transition Authority formally opened its fourth regular session today, June 14, at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex (SKCC). After the singing of the Philippine national anthem and the Bangsamoro hymn, Wali Sheikh Khalifa Usman Nando delivered his message and led the beating of the agong to formally open the Third Regular Session of the Bangsamoro Parliament.
Wali Sheikh Khalipha Usman Nando on the Ceremonial Opening of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, and the Most Merciful
Praise be to Allah, Lord of Universe, May the Blessings, Mercy of Allah Upon our Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him, his families and companions.
His Excellency, Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines. His Excellency, Ahod Balawag Ebrahim – Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Honorable Atty. Ali Pangalian Balindong, Speaker of the Parliament, Bangsamoro Transition Authority. Honorable Ministers, Members of the Parliament of Bangsamoro Transition Authority. My fellow Honorable Ulama, Local Government Unit, Council of leaders of local government from the provinces to municipalities and Honorable Guests, My Brothers and Sisters.
Assalamo Alaykom wa rahmatollahi wa barakatuho
The blessed month of Ramadan 1443 AH had passed and through which we learned love, brotherhood, compassion, giving and benevolence to others, may Allah Almighty accepted our good deeds and bless us with plenty of goodness. We must preserve this spirit of brotherhood & sisterhood, loving and unity despite of the election’s result. We must let go and set aside any irregularities in the previous democratic process. It is the time to unite, work together and make the center of your interest toward moving on political, social and economic development.
We congratulate members of the Parliament for their commitment and hard work in completing the 24 approved Bills and 242 adopted resolutions for us, to achieve the aspiration of the Bangsamoro people towards Moral Government. I also understand that the effort of all the Members of the Parliament, Ministers and other offices are not enough to answer the needs of our communities for the short period of time. Consistent hard working, courage, perseverance and patience are our tool to reach the real justice system needed by the People. By this, the majority will enjoy peaceful environment and prosperity.
We and the Bangsamoro people calling the Parliament to prioritize and strive on shaping the judicial system of the Government in this fiscal year. The challenges and fears in our contemporary reality will be resolved by dealing with a judicial system. Collective efforts and trust with each other will gain support from our Creator, achieving the Justice characterized by: Preservation of Religion, Preservation of Life, Preservation of Wealth, Preservation of Intellect and Preservation of Lineage (Honor)
As Allah Almighty says:
(“Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing.”) verse 58 Surat An-Nisa.
As WĀLĪ of the Bangsamoro, I visited and observed in Lanao Provinces, Zamboanga Peninsula, Island Provinces, Davao Region, as well as Cotabato Provinces. After more than couple of years of running the transition government, our Ministries have done great achievements in facilitating various social services to improve the life of the people. However, there are still wide area of improvements on the following:
- Health services – (more Health centers, Medical services, Hygiene facilities, Access to potable Water, Sanitation program and Improve nutrition program)
- Education – (improve access to appropriate education for the poor, additional school Building and facilities in the remote areas)
- Transportation and communication – (Road improvement, bridges, farm to market road and in-land water transportation. Generally observed in Ligawasan, Butilen, seaside communities and mountainous area)
- Livelihood assistance – Our government needs to understand the situation and increase effort to alleviate poverty; More livelihood interventions and technical support on our farmers and fisher folks that are still in the primitive way of life. Establishing support and economic system on business sectors, such as lending and financial institution.
Allah Almighty says:
(Those who eat Ar-Riba (the usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitan (Satan) leading him to insanity. That is because they say: `Trading is only like Ar-Riba,’ whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Ar-Riba. So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Ar-Riba, shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge); but whoever returns (to Ar- Riba), such are the dwellers of the Fire, they will abide therein.) Verse 275 of Surah Al-Baqarah
- Human competencies and accountability.
We reminding our selves, on the obligation and responsibilities entrusted to us, that we are accountable to deliver on expected quantity with quality on time. Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, says: (You are all shepherds, and you are all responsible for your flock…). And also it was mentioned in the hadeeth on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, who said, The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, said (If the trust is lost, then wait for the Hour (The Judgments Day). He said, “How would it be wasted, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “If the authority is assigned to someone who is not suitable, then wait for the Hour.” Narrated by Al-Bukhari. The Messenger of Allah said: “The most severely punished of people on the Day of Resurrection is a man whom Allah has shared in his rule (authority), and inserted tyranny in His (Allah’s) justice.”
In this occasion, we are inviting everybody, my fellow Ulama, Datus, political leaders and all sectors of the Bangsamoro people, rising together to sustain peace and development to achieve prosperity.
I would like to express my thanks to Almighty Allah, to our beloved people for untiring support for the cause, the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte administration to extend the period of transition and Brothers in the Arab and Islamic countries, friendly countries who sympathizes the Moro struggle. Special thanks to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), International communities, United Nations, the European Union and other various government and non-governmental organizations on their continuous humanitarian and development intervention.
May Allah grant us his protection, care and guidance for our success. Finally, by virtue of the authority vested upon me by law, I now declare this session open.
Wassalamo Alaykom Warahmatollahi Wabaratuho [Translated from Arabic]
Speaker Balindong , ‘Bangsamoro Government is the national government’s partner for development’
Bismillahi Rahmaniir Rahiim.
His eminent, Sheikh Khalifa Usman Nando; his excellency, Ahod Balawag Ebrahim; members of the Cabinet, Officers and the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Assalamu Alaikom Warahmatullahi Wabarakatu.
Three years ago, we started the journey of the Bangsamoro. We were full of hopes then, we are so much full of hopes now. What with how far we have managed to come, what with the countless spirited exchanges of sincerest intentions from everyone; Government of the Day (GOTD) and Members of the Parliament; what with the confluence of everyone’s vision very much shaped by the caves of blood, sweat, and tears. We are at the penult. it has truly been an honor for all of us to have been part of this buoyance carving the future of the Bangsamoro as we have been fighting our way before. Remainders toil does not cap what we have face these past years. Now that we didn’t expect it, after all we have been fighting for what is right and what we deserve to this country to be peaceful. From the time it was found by the colonizers to the time the country established and now we are continuing the people’s aspiration for a better Philippines. We have been fighting for a recognition ever since, we never assume to be entitled of anything, we simply wanted to right the wrongs of the history in fact we have list of the recognitions that we are fundamental part of the forging of this country’s very identity. It is beyond questioned that we have now achieved something fundamental and the order of the day is to build on this milestone, to strengthen the institution and forge far-reaching plans for the region and in the process make our national leaders and everyone realize how we can contribute to the whole country’s holistic development.
Inevitably, we have to engage politically. Much of our work after all is political, as we commit ourselves to public service, we have also set our eyes on a vision and with that vision it is but imperative to take a chance on what to perceive at any given time what we think will serve as a good mechanism for us. And as we did before, we choose according to experience, according to history, it was not popular before, it proved to be not a popular choice in this election. We choose wrong politically, but just like before, it should not deter us from working hand in hand with the new national government.
Who could’ve thought we’ll be reaching this far under the Duterte administration? The whole time we have been working with the leaders of the previous dispensation still in cooperation with the President Duterte has work wonders and did not only allow us to show we can cooperate towards the achievement of what is good for Filipinos, it was an opportunity for us to show our brand of service to our people and the region. I am sure given another opportunity, the new national leadership will only see a partner in us. The visionary in the Chief Minister and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front leaders will surely coincide with a sedulous leader in President Bongbong Marcos. Even just a short meeting if I may be so bold to recommend will surely set things rights moving forward. At the end of the day, we know our place in overall mechanism of the national government, I am condiment at the same time that the national leaders understand the value of a continuously working Bangsamoro Autonomous Region having established all this we shall be steadfast supporters of President Marcos. We are aware, no doubt, that our significance only comes for the perfect legacy and an institution that will be signed and strengthened consistent with our identity as a people. I can refer with nothing other than the BARMM government. Yes, we were given a special place in our country’s constitution but having an institution that truly encapsulates our integrity has only been achieved now, for that we only owe it to ourselves to remain true to our colleagues. Extraordinaire for our people as we have shown to many weathering all times of vestitudes along the way.
I thought of this as I recall the preeminent leadership shown by our colleagues in the regular government. I am honored as I will forever be grateful to have served alongside them who I now mention for everyone to give you recognition. Honorable Datu Tucao Mastura, CPA, who is now sitting Mayor of Sultan Kudarat Maguindanao; Honorable Sittie Sahara Mastura, Congresswoman of Cotabato City, 1st district of Maguindanao; Hon. Ali Syed Sali, Vice Governor of Tawi-Tawi; Hon. Zia Alonto Adiong, Congressman of 1st District Lanao del Sur, Hon. Khadafeh Mangudadatu now Mayor of Pandag, Maguindanao. They are 5 of our colleagues here in Parliament who are now about to take on a new role in public service. As our colleagues, they made [inaudible] of their time with the parliament and shown how it is to actually serve our people and for that they have stood out and now heeded by the people to be closer to them. I will not be surprised if in the near future many more of our brethren will be taking on the mantle and sharing the country what the real world is. As I have already mentioned, we have faced radical shift, I say that without any equivocation as we know by experience what sacrifice is, how we have endured discrimination and how we continue to be under [inaudible]. All this is for our whole academy learning by the leading to exclude for hard work.
Meanwhile, there is so much more to be done ahead of us. If I may reiterate, our legacy of strong institution has yet to be completed. We have already accomplished many of the fundamental implements or laws needed to share in the different offices of the BARMM and organizing our bureaucracy. Our service never ends, we have to enrich what we have already undertaken and show how this could be put into new and in that whoever takes over from us already has enough tools. Last year, we have inaugurated Bangsamoro Development Plan, let us keep our eye on the ball as they say and be reminded of the objectives as we have set for ourselves and for our people. Constant review, monitoring, and assessment is orders for that we will be able to have an additional immediate action to see. I know we have giving so much thought and energy in formulating this one but foresight is essential we have to see it and anticipate the next expect. Again, with anticipation of the next generation of leaders after all we are but the initiators here, we serve as catalyst for a more substantive future as to come to the young leaders. Most recently, not only me and my family have witnessed the success of a young positional and leader in the family. Of course, I could not help but feel fulfilment and pride, looking back on the other hand, it led me to imagine a future of Bangsamoro with young leaders full of vigor and brilliance taking on the challenges of leadership and forging a much more progressive prosperous region. Many other successful leaders with their equally proud family and friends, this imagination becomes reality in the near future. If we continue to do well with our mandate, nothing’s impossible in political, economic, social environment will surely result to nothing short but greatness.
If I may just add a little more important detail, the regional government has continued to work forcedly with the local government. The treasures Bangsamoro region is our advantage as we are able to amalgamate and work together to achieve bigger more comprehensive. More important in the process we are strengthening our BARMM, the people, and the region. Together, our plans, no doubt, will not be made a reality. It is also paramount to work forcedly with the national government. The divisions that came with a past tense should now be poised to be responsive regional partners of the national government. There can be no doubt that just like us here in BARMM, the new administration will be looking after the welfare of everyone not only to those who supported them in the last politics. We also have to strengthen our ties with the international community. If you remember it has been quite a controversy awhile back because the new regional government is considerably more empowered, Many remain uninformed that they have yet to fully understand what we are capable of. It has been difficult to consider that we can in fact help on the development of country as a whole by strengthening ties with the international community especially with countries to share our culture and faith, with the country realize there is so much to begin in closer cooperative even in collaborative international relations. Let the National Government take care of the political issues but let us contribute in economic and cultural issues and development and we should be able to educate the whole country in the process, ultimately the many leaders of the national level who up to now have yet to appreciate the potential of the region and the partner they already have. The soonest they see that we have not only been doing our best to serve our people but more than that doing so much to contribute to the nation’s peace.
I am confident, the time is there. The better understanding and equal of most people are almost there. I am confident that indeed, we have done our legacy. In the end, we could have not done everything without our people’s strength and confidence. Ladies and gentlemen, it will always be my pride to have known and to be working with Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, Al Hajj. He’s our witness as a leader is an equal and this is shared by all our leaders by government ultimately. I will always be honored to have been serving our people as we all pray as we all share the blessings of Allah SWT. Assalamu Alaikom Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.
Chief Minister’s Report to the Bangsamoro, 12-Point Agenda for 2023-2025
A’udhu billahi min ash-shaytaan-ir-rajeem
Bismillahir rahmanir raheem
To the Wali of the bangsamoro: Shiek Khalifa Nando, Parliament Speaker: Atty. Ali Pangalian Balindong, colleagues in the Parliament, Members of the Cabinet, friends and partners for peace and development, ladies, and gentlemen, my fellow Bangsamoro:
Assalamu alaykum wa rahmahtullahi taala wa barakatuh.
Three years have passed since we, the members of the BTA Parliament took our Oath of Moral Governance in this august chamber. It was a day filled with hope and dedication to be of genuine service to the people. It was a day when we started navigating the challenging but fulfilling transition period. It was a day that when we became the authors of the most important chapters of the Bangsamoro’s quest for lasting peace and development in our homeland. Since then, we have been working tirelessly in building and running a government we can all proudly call Bangsamoro. Ladies and gentlemen, as we open our session today, let us all reflect at some of the results of the work we have done so far and identify the areas of priority moving forward.
The Philippine Statistics Authority recently released the official economic figures of the country for 2021 in which the BARMM recorded 7.5 percent economic growth. This makes us the second fastest growing region in the country. Moreover, only four regions have surpassed its pre-pandemic economic growth and we are proud to say that we are one of them. Alhamdulillah
In terms of the major industries’ contribution to the 7.5 percent economic growth, agriculture, forestry and fishing contributed the most with 3.0 percentage points, followed by services with 2.6 percentage points and industry with 1.9 percentage points. Speaking of agriculture and fisheries, the PSA also reported that the BARMM registered the highest growth in the country in terms of the value of production in agriculture and fisheries at 7.2 percent in 2021.
It is also important to note how these figures relate to the poverty in the region. As i have previously reported in this august chamber, the BARMM recorded the most significant decrease in poverty incidence among families over the past three (3) years: from 55.9 percent in 2018 to 39.4 percent in 2021. We recorded the highest and the only double-digit reduction in terms of poverty incidence in the whole country. In 2018, 365,900 families are considered poor in the then ARMM. In 2021, this number is down to 247, 000 families. Alhamdulillah
However, it is worth mentioning that despite the double-digit reduction, at 39.4 percent poverty incidence, we are still the poorest region in the country. This further reflects that while all things considered, we are heading into the right direction, there are still many development challenges that we need to overcome as a people, as a region, and as an autonomous government. Some of these challenges cannot even be resolved by the BARMM alone, it needs strong continuing support from the national government, the international community, and the local stakeholders.
Be that as it may, what is primordial is to ensure that with the challenges and imperfections, we continue to thrust forward and achieve major and small wins for the region.
Speaking of which, last Thursday, June 9, 2022, the Philippine Airlines launched its maiden flight from Cotabato City to Tawi-Tawi, the first ever within BARMM route offered by the said airline. It will have return flights every Monday and Thursday with a possibility of increasing the frequency once the demand gets higher.
This maiden flight is both historic and symbolic. Apart from it being the first within BARMM route offered by PAL, it also partially addresses the perennial connectivity challenge that the autonomous region had to endure for several years. We are hopeful that we will be able to further strengthen the connectivity of our areas and our people.
In addition, the Cotabato-Tawi-Tawi flight also signals the realization of the potential of our region for tourism, trade, and business. As the southernmost island welcomes the prospect of more visitors wanting to experience what this beautiful island and its beautiful people has to offer, we are hopeful that the tarnished reputation – often painted with misconceptions and hasty generalization of our region – will be replaced with accurate and peace-promoting stories. We invite everyone, especially those who haven’t been to our area, be our guests and choose Bangsamoro as your next destination.
As we continue the next chapters of the transition period, let us all work together, regardless of color or political affiliation, for the betterment of our people and our region. There are still many important tasks to be completed, important legislations to be passed, flagship programs and reforms to be implemented under our continuing call for moral governance.
We shall prioritize the passage of the remaining priority codes and other important legislations reflected in the legislative agenda. In addition, in view of the development and contextual changes that the past years have shaped, the government of the day enhanced its twelve-point priority agenda for 2023-2025. These are the following:
- Stronger BARMM bureaucracy – we shall further promote good governance through enabling policies for transparency, accountability, and improved overall public financial management. We shall also consider alignment of various development plans from different levels of government to ensure synergy and capacity development.
- Digital infrastructure and e-governance – we will enhance the availability and accessibility of digitized government functionalities, with stronger data privacy and security across the region.
- Revenue generation and economic comparative advantage – we will prioritize the creation of GOCC and other financial institution, as well as the establishment of economic zones, and other initiatives to encourage investments. We shall realize our economic potentials in natural resources, halal industry, ecotourism, among others that would generate revenues and spur development in the region.
- Agri-fishery productivity and food security – we shall continue to strengthen food security in the region by improving production and value chain that must be complemented by policies and programs for our farmers and fisherfolks.
- Investment in transportation, communication, and other strategic infrastructure – we shall develop a system of reliable and resilient infrastructure for land, sea, air transportation and communication that would result to better connectivity and economic growth.
- Energy security – we need to start the development, exploration, and utilization of other energy resources in the region to foster more investments and generate job opportunity for our people.
- Social protection and universal healthcare – we shall boost responsiveness and timeliness of social protection services to mitigate vulnerability to economic, social, and environmental shocks and disasters. We shall also improve the equitable access to quality and affordable healthcare services towards a healthy Bangsamoro.
- Disaster resilience and climate-change adaptation – we will implement responsive policies and programs that would help our vulnerable communities to prevent or withstand disasters including infectious diseases while implementing holistic approach to mitigate the effects of climate change.
- Quality and holistic education – we will improve access to quality and holistic education through human resource development, skills training, learning continuity programs, and education infrastructure projects.
- Support to Marawi rehabilitation – we will continue to provide meaningful IDP-centered support to the ongoing rehabilitation, reconstruction, and recovery of Marawi City.
- Peace, justice, and security – we must sustain the peace in the BARMM through stronger coordination and proactive collaboration with law enforcement agencies, development partners, and other stakeholders, while implementing various peacebuilding programs.
- Bangsamoro culture, heritage, and diversity – we shall promote our region’s rich culture, heritage, history, and identity through meaningful engagements. We shall also provide spaces for the narratives of the Bangsamoro to be heard and understood.
These twelve-point priority agenda shall shape our budget, legislations, programs, and policies of our region as we move to the next chapter of the transition period.
Ladies and gentlemen, on june 30, 2022, our beloved President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s term will come to an end. The first ever Mindanaon President has consistently exercised strong political will, profound leadership, and love for the people in the past six years. These have been particularly evident in the case of the Bangsamoro in which under his term, the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao were finally realized. In addition, the crucial transition period was also extended for another three years. These are just some of the reasons why we will be forever grateful to President Duterte. The establishment of the BARMM is the Duterte administration’s greatest legacy. As such, i invite everyone to join me in saying “Maraming maraming salamat po, Pangulong Duterte”.
As this administration comes to a close, we are optimistic that the incoming administration will continue the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process including the transition period. There are still aspects of the peace process the needed to be realized or be completed such as the implementation of the socio-economic component of the decommissioning process, disbandment of private armed groups, and other important parts of the normalization process that would help transform the conflict affected areas of our homeland into peaceful and productive communities.
We hope that with the call for unity of President-elect Bong-Bong Marcos, the successful and complete implementation of the Bangsamoro peace process will continue to be a priority under his administration. Rest assured that there will be a strong support and collaboration from the Bangsamoro (and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front), especially in this regard to sustain the peace in our homeland.
Ladies and gentlemen, i know today’s opening of session may very well be the last one for some of you in this august chamber. In the coming weeks or months, there are possible changes that would shape the next chapters of this transition period. Be that as it may, I want you all to be proud of what you have done in fulfilling our oath to the almighty and to our people. Granted there are areas where we could have done better or done things differently but remember that serving the Bangsamoro does not stop here. Continue to serve through your own ways; big or small, directly or indirectly. Continue to be an agent of peace that you have always been. Continue to address the social injustices and make the dreams and aspirations of the Bangsamoro a lived reality.
Let us all continue to serve the Bangsamoro with pure hearts and sincere intentions. Wa billahi tawfiq wal hidayah. Bangsamoro muna. Thank you and wassalam.