Cotabato City—The yearend marks their last day together after 30 years.
Like young graduates, it was a sad adieu for more than 6,000 Muslim and Christian separated employees of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Many were seen in tears, amid emotional embraces, amicable kisses and exchanges of well wishes on their last day in office.
Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Al-Hadj Murad Ebrahim of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said it was time, more than anything else, “to thank these hardworking men and women in the government service who have laid the vital foundations of the bureaucracy that we have today.”
“As we all bid goodbye, may we stay connected and share this beautiful bond of ours throughout our lives. It has been a wonderful and memorable journey,” said Al Ambia, ARMM legislative director for Research and Reference, who has worked for the region in all 25 years of his life.
“Everything that happens, happens for a purpose,” he added, as Ambia wished newcomers well and addressed them a line of encouragement.
“Seeing everyone go is not easy for me. It does not only bring tears to my eyes but also into my heart. I wish you all the best and thank you for your cherished friendship…my dear colleagues,” said Baisar Binsuan-Baraguir of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Maguindanao, one of five ARMM component provinces.
ARMM was first established on Aug. 1, 1989, and completed its turnover into the new BARMM entity last Feb. 26.
Republic Act 11054, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, provided specific rates of benefit packages for separated employees, as an offshoot of the dissoluttion of the ARMM:
Those who have served for up to 10 years will receive 100 percent gratuity in separation benefits, based on their latest basic salaries, multiplied by number of years in service;
Separated employees having served the defunct ARMM for more than 10 years will receive 200 percent gratuity in separation benefits computed on the basis of their latest basic salaries, times 200 percent multiplied by number of years in service.
Separated employees are encouraged by the BARMM leadership to reapply. But they can not do so under the law, if they choose to apply for and receive separation benefits.
The employees’ welfare has been discussed in several foums attended by representatives of the Civil Service Commission, the Department of Budget and Management, the employees union, and ARMM officials, even prior to the ratification of the BOL last Jan. 27.
The amount of gratuity in separation benefits will be over and above the cash equivalent or monetary conversion of their earned leave credits during their entire period of employment.
As he expressed gratitude to the more than 6,000 permanent ARMM personnel, who will be separated from service, Ebrahim said: “Words can never be enough to [commend] the exemplary service you have given to the Bangsamoro through the years.”
BARMM Executive Secratary Abdulraof Macacua said the DBM has already released about P700 million in gratuity and separation funds for the benefit packages of many among the first batch of ARMM employees, who opted to leave government service last October yet.
Bangsamoro Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said: “In behalf of the leadership of the Bangsamoro Government, from the bottom of our hearts, we say ‘thank you.’”
Assistant Executive Secretary Abdullah Cusain said Ebrahim and the rest of the BARMM officialdom thanked the employees “for their excellence, professionalism, sacrifices, dedication and commitment to the people.”
“We also take this opportunity to honor and pay tribute to the services, contribution and sacrifices of the separated or separating personnel of the defunct DILG-ARMM. I know we can never completely reward you nor thank you enough for what you have contributed to our people. Ultimately, reward may only be fully granted by Allah,” said Sinarimbo, concurrent spokesman for Ebrahim.
However, Ebrahim said the massive phasing out of ARMM employees did not mean that BARMM had ended their government career.
“As the Bangsamoro Organic Law [allows it], you can be reemployed in the Bangsamoro Government, subject to the provisions of the law,” Ebrahim said, addressing the employees.
“I encourage you to consider possible options of reemployment, as we need persons like you who have integrity, skills, and passion to serve the Bangsamoro,” said the Bangsamoro chief minister.