DAVAO CITY (December 21, 2023) — The Asia Foundation (TAF) hosted a partners meeting with the organizations implementing the ACTIVATE Bangsamoro Phase III Program on December 19-20, 2023 at Seda Hotel, this city.
The gathering was aimed at getting updates and sharing good practices regarding the implementation of the program carried out by the civil society and media organizations.
Under the program, community dialogues and voters’ education activities were conducted in the target Bangsamoro communities.
The nine implementing partners that took part in the activity were Legal Network for Truthful Election (LENTE), Probe Media Foundation (PMFI), Mindanao Institute of Journalism (MindaNews), Maguindanao Development Foundation Inc. (MDFI), Mindanao Organization for Social Economic Progress (MOSEP), Teduray Lambangian Women’s Organization Inc. (TLWOI), United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), United Voices for Peace Network (UVPN), and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCJI).
Each of the participating organization highlighted their best practices, lessons learned, and strategies for overcoming obstacles.
The partner organizations agreed to collaborate with BARMM line agencies such as the Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO) In order to have guarantee on accurate and timely dissemination of information on Bangsamoro Parliamentary Election.
A “Kamustahan session” led by Engr. Misuari Abdullah (TAF Program Officer) together with representatives from BARMM line agencies to discuss some initiatives for the BEC’s information campaign encouraged participants to strengthen their advocacy.
Meanwhile, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Director of Legislative and Technical Affairs and Information Services (LTAIS), Engr. Abdulgani L. Manalocon, announced that their office has already hired consultants to create and reproduce the Information, Education Communication (IEC) materials.
This will involve a variety of strategies, such as the use of Audio Visual Presentations and Radio Plugging translated into the major local dialects of the Bangsamoro people. The IEC materials will be rolled out first in Maguindanao del Sur and del Norte in January 2024.
The Office of the Secretary General of the BTA, represented by Mr. Salahuddin Abdulgafor, said that copies of the BEC will be distributed as soon as it become available.
“We intend to duplicate and disseminate a minimum of 11,000 copies of the BEC,” Abdulgafor said. He also promised to provide the implementing partners with a soft copy of the BEC.
Jorjani Sinsuat, a representative of the Bangsamoro Information Office, underscored that they are planning to organize a democratic summit to be led by young people.
“This summit shall be conducted in collaboration with UVPN and will focus on six key sectors, including youth, ulama, and traditional leaders,” he said.
Atty. Mehrab Bahri, a representative of the BTA Floor Leader, said that there is an ongoing finalization of the guidelines for the Sectoral and District Representatives in the BTA.
He said there is a need for parliamentary districts to have a population of at least 100,000 and the creation of contiguous area groupings based on data obtained from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) during the 2020 Census of Population and Household.
Atty. Bahri added that the BARMM Region contain at least 32 districts, divided into the following categories: 2 for Cotabato City, 8 for Lanao Del Sur, 1 for SGA, 7 for Sulu, and 4 districts for each of Maguindanao Del Sur and Del Norte, 3 for Tawi-Tawi and 3 for Basilan.
Noraida Chio, TAF Senior Officer, thanked the BARMM line agencies , the partner media networks, primarily from Manila, for their unwavering and keen support for peace and development advocacies in the Bangsamoro region.
“The Bangsamoro Mujahideen’s blood, life, and sweat have became the capital of the peace we enjoy today. Let’s take advantage of this chance to establish a durable peace in the Bangsamoro homeland, or our children will be using gadgets (laptops) in the future as a symbol of progress rather than weapons. We want to maintain this peace now,” she said. (Sahani S. Ansa, BMN/Bangsamoro Today Contributor)