(Continued from Tuesday, conclusion)
Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez has called Access Bangsamoro “an innovative initiative” that can be a “valuable tool for the BARMM government's efforts to carry out meaningful and sustainable reforms in the region, where people can be apprised on what’s happening in the Bangsamoro, participate in discourse relating to governance, and put their insights and suggestions forward.”
A website, Facebook Page, Twitter page and YouTube channel comprise the Access Bangsamoro portal.
Guests visiting the website at accessbangsamoro.ph will be able to earn more informed appreciation into the three policy issues, from Access Bangsamoro’s senior fellows and network of experts and learn more about the Bangsamoro through data and infographics.
YouTube videos featuring local and international experts discussing issues relevant to the Bangsamoro are also embedded in the website under “Bangsamoro Talks.”
An IAG team based in Cotabato City and ASOG team based in Manila will upload the website with more contents in the coming weeks, said Ram Toledo, IAG communications manager.
“For too long the Bangsamoro has struggled to keep its culture and tradition alive amidst a fast evolving modern and technological world, “ said lawyer Ishak Mastura, IAG Development Consulting Inc. chief operations officer of the firm behind the web portal.
“It is the hope of Access Bangsamoro that by leveraging today and tomorrow’s analytical and technological tools, we also strive to go up the learning curve and not remain content with our past traditions and culture that have enabled us to survive but in fact we may need them to be re-examined and adapted to the challenges of modernization,” said Mastura, who is also former head of the ARMM’s Regional Board of Investments.
Lawyer Michael Henry Yusingco, a senior fellow at the Ateneo School of Government and IAG, added that the success of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao “will definitely be an impetus for the rest of the country to reform the current national decentralization framework.”
“Hence, Access Bangsamoro can also help Filipinos how to establish genuine and meaningful local autonomy in the country as designed by the 1987 Constitution, ” he added.
The chief minister in the BARMM—currently Ahod Balawag Ebrahim—is not directly elected by the people unlike the regional governor in the ARMM. This is a totally new dynamic because people will not only be voting for a member to the Bangsamoro Parliament, but they will also be indirectly voting for the potential chief minister.
Public financial management, the third policy issue, concerns the effective administration of the collection and allocation of funds by the state. The block grant is only one element, albeit a very important one, of a broader area of concern in the BARMM that is public finance.
The institution of the block grant in the BOL represents a fundamental shift in the fiscal position of the regional government of the BARMM. The block grant shall be equivalent to 5 percent of national revenue collections and shall be automatically released to the Bangsamoro government subject to its full control.
This is a significant departure from the current arrangement wherein the ARMM is treated similarly to a line agency of the national government.