The Institute of Bangsamoro Studies (IBS) held a consultation forum on land, housing, and property policy in the BARMM last July 28, 2021 at Em Manor Hotel, Cotabato City.
Ms. Ica Fernandez, IBS consultant, presented the summary of her initial findings on the said topic as a result of her region-wide public consultations. Major issues and challenges were identified as well as possible solutions from the legislative and executive branch of the government. The consensus are in agreement that land is one of the most complex and complicated challenge and opportunity for the Bangsamoro.
After the presentation, the participants were given the chance to share their ideas, experiences and knowledge in relation to the findings. There was also a productive exchange of ideas on land governance from representatives coming from the key regional government offices, CSOs, and private sectors.
According to Atty. Anwar Malang, the establishment of Bangsamoro Land Commission could settle things on land issues properly. He added that the Commission could adjudicate matters on land policies on agrarian reform based on Amanah (trust).
Meanwhile, Eshan Karl Mabang, Division Chief of Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy, mentioned that the existing system is already quite good and would only need a proper implementation of the 2015 cadastral survey of the LGUs.
Fernandez remarked that all suggestions and recommendations were all insightful and have been duly noted. The same would be part of the final output of the IBS for submission to the legislative body.
MP Rasol Mitmug is one of the key informants in the findings of Fernandez, together with other Members of the Parliament. This consultation is part of the Citizen’s Engagement for Inclusive Policy and Programs in the Bangsamoro of the IBS, in partnership with The Asia Foundation and USAID – US Agency for International Development.
In a simple turn over held at the municipal hall of Lumba Bayabao, Lanao del Sur on July 26, 2020, Mayor Mahar Dagalangit and Vice Mayor London Dagalangit received the healthcare items for distribution to the 38 barangays of the municipality from the Office of MP Mitmug Jr. and ANAK Mindanao.
The donation set, which includes hands-free alcohol dispensers, gallon of alcohol and face masks, is hoped to augment the resources of the BLGUs and its devoted frontliners in their efforts to fight and contain the spread of COVID-19.
In the first episode of Podcast Bangsamoro, Member of the Parliament (MP) Amir Mawallil was joined by MP Rasol Mitmug Jr. to highlight Islamic mental health efforts in the region amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to MP Mitmug, addressing mental health concerns is of equal importance. Mental health concerns should be discussed and given attention despite the stigma on mental illness in the country especially now that we are facing a pandemic. His Office as Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) member, 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. As part of the IMH initiative, HOM will be training those who want to help in this effort especially those who have background in psychology.
When asked about his motivation for giving attention to mental health, he mentioned 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. He further revealed that his Office is currently reviewing and checking codes, potential policies and laws that will give attention to this issue.
While challenges on mental health is a growing health concern in the region, it is a blessing 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. The implementation of these programs are without hurdles given the population, diversity of languages, number of practitioners, among others, but MP Mitmug is hopeful since efforts are being supported by concerned agencies and organizations.