MARAWI CITY – The Office of Deputy Minority Floor Leader of the Bangsamoro Parliament, Atty. Rasol Y. Mitmug, Jr., conducted a focus group discussion on BTA Bill No. 58, otherwise known as the Bangsamoro Local Governance Code at Sarabi Cuisine and Café, MSU-Main Campus, Marawi City, last February 14.
One of the objectives of the program was to consult constituents of various backgrounds and expertise for the potential betterment of the said code. Fifteen resource persons were present during the one-day focus group discussion, each raising various concerns on the provisions of the bill. After the presentation of the salient provisions (the same presentation given by the Committee on Local Government), each participant was given five minutes to share their policy stance and recommendations.
Shariah Councilor Mala emphasized, “Kailangan dn na kabgan tano dn sa equal privilege so mga madrasah tano, sa lagid dn o kapmb’gantano sa equal opportunity siiko mga iskwelaan tano… why not i-incorporate tabo sagyanan a local school board so mga Madrasah tano?” [We need to give equal privileges to our madrasah/madaris, the same equal opportunities provided to our schools. Why don’t we incorporate the madaris in our local school boards?] This was in reference to the BLGC provision on local school boards which makes no mention of Madaris Division Superintendents or Assistant Madaris Division Superintendents in the membership of local school boards.
The Bangsamoro Education Code (BAA No. 18), which was passed into law in May 2021, provided for the inclusion of Madaris in the Bangsamoro Education System (Section 5, Coverage).
In the draft BLGC, part of the local school boards’ function is to, “Determine, in accordance with the criteria set by the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education, the annual supplementary budgetary needs for the operation and maintenance of public schools within the province, city or municipality, as the case may be, and the supplementary local cost of meeting such needs, which shall be reflected in the form of an annual school board budget corresponding to its share in the proceeds of the special levy on real property constituting the Special Education fund and such other sources of revenue as this Code and other laws or ordinances may provide.”
The BEC’s inclusion of the public Madaris system into the Bangsamoro Education System reflects in Section 167, which states that: “Public schools/Madaris and other public educational institutions shall be funded from public funds” and in Section 170: “The Bangsamoro Government, in collaboration with the National Government, shall extend financial aid and assistance to public schools and public madrasah established and maintained by local governments, including barangay high schools.”
Several queries and concerns were also raised over the anti-dynasty provision in the BLGC and the rampant practice of nepotism in the region. MP Mitmug assured the participants that all of these would be forwarded to the Committee on Local Government for proper documentation and their appropriate response.
Legal Education Board Commissioner Alexander D. Dumpa commended MP Mitmug’s office for the qualitative approach to gain a more in-depth understanding of the social issues or challenges that should be addressed in the drafting of said code.
MP Mitmug expressed his gratitude for the active participation of the resource persons and expressed his hope that others would continue to participate in future continuations of their office’s public consultations on the BLGC. This was the first implementation of the Bangsamoro Parliament Program, which was approved in last year’s budget deliberations. The BPP consists of Community Upliftment and Financial Assistance, Community Driven Legislation, and Special Activities Advocating and Championing Bangsamoro Culture and Communities. Mitmug assured that for the remainder of his term, more consultations and constituency outreach would be conducted.
Others present at the activity were stakeholders representing the youth, legal, religious, academe, and civil society organizations, namely: former ARMM Regional Vice Governor Haroun Alrashid A. Lucman, Jr., Mohammad Nasser C. Abbas, Atty. Ating D. Diacat, Sh.L, DPA, Macaumbao U. Baunto, JD, Dr. Abdul Hanan M. Tago, Dr. Tirmizy E. Abdullah, Ansary Masacal, CPA, Sharief Ismael D. Macabando, CPA, Kince Alhansah Panondiongan, JD, Honorable Anwar Galo-Lamping, Mohammad Ryan Radia, Nurul-Izza Sangcopan and Norhanidah D. Macatoon. Minority Floor Leader Atty. Laisa Alamia and Deputy Minority Floor Leader Engr. Baintan Ampatuan were also present via Zoom.
Aside from printed copies of the draft BLGC, all participants received a flash drive which included relevant documents on the BLGC, published ebooks of the Office of MP Mitmug, and instructions on how to use the Bangsamoro Codes Consultation Portal. Chief of Staff Al Amira Alonto reminded the participants that policy papers on the BLGC would still be received by the Priority Codes Secretariat until March 25, 2022.