BDA Communications

BDA Communications

(BARANGAY KINEBEKA, Datu Odin Sinsuat Maguindanao Del Norte/ February 15, 2023).  Officials from the World Bank took a mission to a camp community of the MILF particularly in this village under Camp Badre on February 15, 2023.  

Ndiame Diop, Country Director for Philippines of World Bank said, “At the World Bank we truly value this partnership with the BARMM….and we have been supporting communities like yours for many years and we have been very committed to continue this collaboration”.

He also said that the visit was a part of a two day visit to discuss with different stakeholders for this partnership. Diop elaborated the purpose of the visit which is to have insights on the needs of the community and what are the ways forward.

He even recalled the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF Phase 1-3) and how it developed many projects for the community and now they came with a new program through the Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund (BNTF) that will soon to start.

The visit encompassed a short community program that allowed the community members shared their needs, concerns and stories relevant to understand their life conditions in the camp.

“We are thankful, we are consulted as well as we participate in this and we are happy for it” Indigenous People (IP) Representative Agustin Apit said.

The open forum addressed issues on road accessibility issues which centered on ease access of the community to a farm to market road for their crops and other products. Alternative Learning System (ALS) in support to access to basic education for the community, packaged implementation instead of piece meal approach was pointed out as a more effective tool, lack of connectivity or signal which foster difficulty in communication and in schooling. Also, the pressing issue of climate change like deforestation, wherein this community was affected by the Typhoon Paeng last October 2022. 

During the community visit, Sokeyna Kane, Fragility, Conflict and Violence Director of World Bank said “We will try to fix the problem as much as we can…”.

She did mention the community driven development (CDD) and a long-term project implementation for the community as support and to promote the welfare of the community.

The said activity concluded with a fruitful community driven discussion. The visitors took home insights which will be paramount to the implementation of the upcoming program for the above-mentioned community related to Normalization in the Bangsamoro

February 15, 2023. The project team is recently working for the strengthening/organizing and validation of cooperatives and its members who are among the major beneficiaries of the project.

As the implementing agency, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) has already mobilized its hired staff in meeting and courtesy with local government units and other stakeholders. Communities involved were also informed of the project during wide- orientations.

BDA Inc. likewise gained the continuing support and guidance of the Joint Task Force on Camps Transformation (JTFCT) through a meeting in January this year.

The agency has also witnessed handover and groundbreaking of some assistance.

As signed in the responsibility party agreement for the PROACTIVE between BDA Inc. and the UNDP Philippines, the program aims to contribute in enhancing local capacities to facilitate transition and transformation of the six (6) acknowledged camps of the MILF into peaceful and productive communities.

It is named as PROACTIVE: Programme on Assistance for Camp Transformation through Inclusion, Violence Prevention and Economic Empowerment. 

PROACTIVE is a collaborative programme of United Nation Development Programme (UNDP – Philippines) and the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) under the European Union Framework for Assistance to Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Mindanao Peace and Development Programme - Peace and Development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MINPAD-PD BARMM).

The project will work on three components such as inclusive and sustainable livelihoods, initial peace dividends and strengthening social cohesion and community resilience.

It covers sixteen (16) villages across the six identified major camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) namely Camp Abubakar As- Siddique, Camp Badre, Camp Bilal Bin Rabbah Darul Shuhadah, Camp Bushra Somiorang, Camp Omar Ibn Al-Khattab and Camp Rajamuda.

February 15, 2023. The concept is to assist the locals in each village by producing goods out of the raw materials available in the community, which can result to potential source of income helpful for their families.

Since November 2022, 510 individuals (85% of those were women) from 18 barangays across the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have undergone trainings on various enterprises through the support of the project SUBATRA-ECSO: Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Intervention in Support to Bangsamoro Transition.

In Brgy. Balakayon, Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, SGA-BARMM, Fatima, who is leading the group happily reported that they have already initial savings from producing and selling banana products after the training in November 2023.

Women in Brgy. Tumbras, Midsayap, Nort Cotabato, SGA-BARMM is producing various goods from freshwater fish abundant in their community being near by the marsh.  

In Brgy. Looy, South Upi, Maguindanao, indigenous people (IP) group have already worked for land preparation for their vegetable production. Seedlings will be ready for planting after twenty days.

Group in Brgy. Mataya, Buldon, Maguindanao worked together in making herbal soaps out of plants available in their village.

Groups in two villages in Tawi-Tawi completed trainings on native delicacy production on February 6-12, 2023.

“We are grateful that despite the distance, we received this support from this project wherein we will be able to help our husband provide for our family. This assistance does not end here today, it will remain significant for us, forever that is why we are very thankful”, one woman from Tawi-Tawi said.

Two villages in Sulu learned about coconut processing. In Basilan, cassava processing and banana processing.

Women group in Lanao areas opted to improve their learning on palapa (a local spicy condiment common among M’ranao) processing.

Trainers to the said various trainings were service providers accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development of the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (TESD-MBHTE-BARMM), to whom the BDA Inc. has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in October 2022.

Part of the support provided during the training were complete package of supplies and equipment per enterprise group that served as start-up capital towards sustainability.

BDA Inc. is currently coordinating with BARMM ministries for further assistance to these POs like registration, business training, organization development, among others.

The project is also looking forward for a product expo of the produced goods of these women groups during the planned donors’ forum by first week of March 2023.

SUBATRA-ECSO is funded by the European Union (EU) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

September 12, 2022. Amilhamja U. Sarael, 37, is a tricycle driver in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. He lives by his wife and three children.

Amilhamja once worked in Malaysia for better sustenance of his family. However, soon enough, he decided to go home to be with the family.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Amilhamja’s family felt the difficulty. From a daily income of Php 1, 400.00, he only gets 300 pesos, a smaller amount to provide the needs of his family.

One day, Amilhamja couldn’t help but cry over their situation. He could not provide well for their children, and sometimes he could not go with his tricycle because there is nothing to pay for fuel.

With the current recovery from the pandemic, this father of three is glad of the gradual improvement in their place. Public vehicles are not anymore limited thus increase in number of passengers, and income for Amilhamja as tricycle driver.

"I'm happy because I see that my children are happy, too since now, they get what they need”, he stated.

Amilhamja told that situation in the province gets even better with the availability of more flights to and from Tawi-Tawi.

“There are more tourists, there are more commuters, so we get higher income”, he said happily. 

Flight to and from Cotabato and Tawi-Tawi opened in June 2022 that is significant for eco- tourism boost in the Bangsamoro region, particularly for this remotest island province.

Another father is Saridjil Enggi, 40, who shares his lost during the pandemic and the fire incident in their public market in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. 

He is a mango vendor, providing for the needs of his family with seven children. 

Saridjil is fine with his noble work as fruit vendor. 

According to him, life was good because he can sustain for the family. It was during the pandemic happened when they felt the hardship.

He used to get income from Php 300.00 to 500.00 pesos every day before the pandemic. But during the crisis, he only has 100.00 each day. There were few buyers, some people have left.

This situation got worse when the fire incident happened in the public market where Saridjil sells fruit.

He is among those who were relocated for selling due to the fire, that affected his sale.

“My regular buyers have a hard time looking for me to buy, so the income decreased”, Saridjil told.

Nevertheless, Saridjil was thankful because of the assistance received from the Bangsamoro government during that time.

"We received food and financial assistance, so somehow we felt the hope to continue with our life”, he said.

Saridjil also told us of the concrete road in their barangay constructed by the BARMM, which made the transportation easier for everyone in the community. 

He shared gratitude and high hopes that despite living in an island province, the Bangsamoro Government is not forgetting them.

BARMM has turned over multimillion peso worth of projects in remote island towns of Tawi-Tawi province in July this year, for the improvement of government services and also of economic growth in this part of the Bangsamoro Region.

Meanwhile, employees of BARMM under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) in the BaSulTa (Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi) recently underwent Values Transformation Training (VTT) facilitated by the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.), the development arm of the MILF established in 2002, that has emerged as duly registered non-government organization in 2019.

Also, for Tawi-Tawi, are two of its barangay (Pasiagan, Bongao and Malacca, Panglima Sugala) are selected for the project SUBATRA-ECSO “Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Interventions in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition”, being managed by the BDA Inc. Under this, vulnerable groups in each village are targeted for social services, human rights advocacy, social enterprise development, community- feedback mechanism, and among others.

One human rights training participant expressed thanks for the education on HR, recently conducted by the project.

“We are lucky to be chosen for this training. Most of us do not know about HR. We thought that to live is enough already”, she said.

Another participant told that “We learned a lot from this training. Through this, our lives may change. We can make our lives better, compare to what we are used to. There should be equality”. 

For the project activities in Tawi-Tawi, BDA Inc. is working with the League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO) through its member organization UNYPAD.

SUBATRA-ECSO works for the Component 4 of the SUBATRA Programme that helps BARMM lay the foundation for lasting peace and development in the region by strengthening the capacities of its institutions to establish an enabling democratic governance environment during the transition period.

The Project generally aims to contribute to a peaceful, cohesive, secure and inclusively developed Bangsamoro. It specifically intends to enhance the capacity of the civil society to contribute to a peaceful transition to BARMM.

It is funded by the European Union (#EU), and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (#AECID). (R.Adam)

September 6, 2022. In Bangsamoro Region, the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in peacebuilding is highly recognized and is evident by the visible actions of these organizations at the grassroots level, urban areas, published at the local media, online and offline.

In a message during the Project Launch of the SUBATRA-ECSO on September 30, 2021 via zoom, Hon. Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, interim chief minister of BARMM recognized the important role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in advancing the peace process and in achieving peace and development in Bangsamoro Region.

“CSOs have played an important role in the Bangsamoro peace process. The CSOs were vital in the eventual passage of the legislation calling for the extension of the Bangsamoro Transition Period. That alone speaks highly of CSOs power and capacity to make lasting social change”, Chief Minister Ebrahim said.

With the Bangsamoro Government currently on its extended transition period, various Bangsamoro CSOs remain committed to support and contribute to the peaceful transition in the region. In September 2021, the project Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Intervention in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA-ECSO) kicked off with the intention to strengthen the efforts of these CSOs to help with the on-going evolution in the region long been affected by years of conflict and uncertainties.

Different CSOs operating the Bangsamoro joined hands and agreed to deliver the services needed by the vulnerable sectors in the communities of BARMM. The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.), the development arm of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) established in 2002 that emerged as non-government organization in 2019, is the leading organization for the SUBATRA-ECSO. For the project, BDA Inc. has signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) with the following CSOs. The collaboration with each CSO is based on their field of expertise and experience through the years.

The League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO) is tapped for the objective on raising awareness about BARMM projects and the rights and obligations of its people. The all-women organization named Ittihadun-Nisa Foundation, Inc. (INFo) is helping the project specifically on interventions targeting women and children.

Particular assistance for the indigenous people in BARMM is being carried out together with the Rajah Mamalo Descendants of Southern Philippines, Inc. (RMDSP). The Kapagawida Development Services Association, Inc. (KDSAi) is partnered for the management of Alternative Learning System (ALS) in camp communities.

CSOs in the island province of Bangsamoro are also being collaborated for the project. Tagah Youth Concern Association is tapped for their capacity and experience on organizing and establishing youth who are among the target groups identified for this project. The Kabalikat Civicom will help on risk management trainings, especially in the islands. 

Support to Bangsamoro CSOs

For the SUBATRA-ECSO Project, BDA Inc. is facilitating various activities that are all geared to help enhance the capacities of the various Bangsamoro CSOs to become more efficient and be able to contribute to peaceful transition in the BARMM.

Together, numerous activities were already conducted during the first year of the project namely, project management and planning, data gathering and consolidation, module development writeshop on human rights, communication skills training and planning workshop, and training of trainers on human rights.

From these trainings, partners CSOs expressed gratitude for the learned knowledge and skills that they can apply as they perform their respective duties in their organizations.


Working together for SUBATRA-ECSO

The project is about to complete its first year of implementation, from September 2021 to September 2022. Looking back, BDA Inc. has documented major accomplishments for the Year 1 of the project as enumerated below:

  • Profiled vulnerable sectors at the community level for provision of services
  • Oriented indigenous people (IP) groups on the significance of backyard gardening for sustainable living
  • Organized and trained Community Human Rights Advocates across BARMM
  • Organized BDRRM Team at the target community across BARMM
  • Developed training manual on basic human rights in Bangsamoro
  • Established coordination and communication with BARMM ministries/ offices/ agencies and with the Bangsamoro CSOs
  • Linked with BARMM’s Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO) and Bangsamoro League of Information Officers (BLIO)
  • Formulated the communication plan dubbed as “Para Sa’Yo Bangsamoro” with the objective to help restore the trust, confidence and faith, so that support to peace and development is sustained
  • Developed a digital application dubbed as CM-ACTS or Community Monitoring and Actionable Concerns Tracking System for the community-feedback mechanism in BARMM to help connect the Bangsamoro Government to its people.
  • Helped disseminate information about BARMM programs and services thru social media and radio program
  • Coordinated with the Joint Task Force on Camps Transformation (JTFCT) for understanding and support of the project
  • Formulated the common monitoring framework for projects on Normalization in 6 MILF major camps
  • Coordinated MBHTE and BALS for the Alternative Learning System and Skills development for transitioning combatants. MOA yet to be signed.
  • Planning, project management and development, values transformation, data collection and consolidation, Community Enterprise Planning Technique, writeshop on basic Human Rights manual, communication skills and planning, training of trainers on basic human rights, others

During the Year 1, BDA Inc. has been with the RMDSP, collaboratively reaching the IP communities for determining their priority needs, promoting backyard gardening, social enterprise development, others. INFO with the Social Welfare Committed (SWC) of the MILF has helped the project during the meeting with women sectors across BARMM. LBO is working with the BDA Inc. for reaching the communities in Maguindanao, SGA-BARMM, Lanao del Sur and Tawi-Tawi. KABALIKAT Civicom has been accompanying the project during activities in the communities of Sulu. Taga Youth is a partner for interventions in the villages of Basilan.  

Peacebuilding in Bangsamoro

Speaking of peace in the Bangsamoro requires one to understand the history of the Bangsamoro struggle that have caused the protracted conflict in the region through the years. The call of the Moro’s for the right to self-determination rooted from the historical injustice committed to their ancestors since the 1970s. The foundation of notable revolutionary groups all asserting for the right to self- determination first the MNL, then the MILF manifested the strong determination of the Bangsamoro to achieve a type of a government that is responsive to the ideals and way of life of the Moros. While the rest is history, the peacebuilding efforts in Bangsamoro has been pushed by various actors and stakeholders that has already gained the attention and support of the international communities.

With the Bangsamoro Government already working, these efforts shall be sustained and further strengthened because peace does not end here. The BDA Inc., with the CSOs long been running before the establishment of BARMM is more committed to support the current transition in the Bangsamoro. It is the fact, that peacebuilding is not a government responsibility alone, it requires everyone’s cooperation and support.

The implementation of various development projects must be sustained to complement the BARMM as it undergoes transition until it fully operates as one whole government with well-established policies and laws. By working with the CSOs, the thrust on peacebuilding becomes more collaborative and inclusive, which shall contribute in achieving peaceful transition in the Bangsamoro.

July 5, 2022. For a newly established Bangsamoro Government, how does it listen to its people? Same way, how does the people connect to its government?

With the advent of technology in the present generation, it is indeed significant to modernize manners of communication and connection. In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), a digital application is being developed to strengthen and support the Bangsamoro Government’s effort to bring the government closer to the people, with the use of technology that speaks of the transparency and competitiveness of the Bangsamoro, towards progress and peace.

This digital platform is called CM-ACTS (Community Monitoring for Actionable Complaints Tracking System).

CM-ACTS, reflects the unified voice of the Bangsamoro all with one common aspirations as people with identity, education, honor and faith.

Through this app, it is expected that flow of information from the grassroots level will be speed up for immediate response and action of concerned BARMM office.

“This intervention is helpful for the information officers of BARMM to fast track the collection of information from the community”, one BARMM employee said.

On June 27-29, 2022, information officers and focal persons from BARMM ministries and attached offices/ agencies gathered for the CM-ACTS Training for Web Administrators and Managers at Cotabato City.

Through the activity, participants learned and understood about the digital app and were allowed to share their comments and suggestions to further improve the CM-ACTS.

Resource person from the third-party service provider of the CM-ACTS discussed the development of the digital app.

Atty. Gilbert Sembrano, team leader of the SUBATRA Justice and Society Project (SJSP) Technical Assistance Team (TAT) provided guidance during the activity.

It is expected that CM-ACTS will be officially launched on the last quarter of this year.  

Developed through the partnership between the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.), and Office of the Cabinet Secretary of the Office of the Chief Minister- BARMM, this digital application is in relevance to the project: Enhancing CSOs Capacities towards Inclusive Development Intervention in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA-ECSO), specifically for Output 4.5 Awareness of communities about BARMM projects is raised, including their rights and obligations under BARMM.

SUBATRA-ECSO generally aims to contribute to a peaceful, cohesive, secure and inclusively developed Bangsamoro.

It is funded by the European Union (EU) and the and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

SUBATRA-ECSO works for the Component 4 of the SUBATRA Programme that helps BARMM lay the foundation for lasting peace and development in the region by strengthening the capacities of its institutions to establish an enabling democratic governance environment during the transition period.

PIKIT, SGA-BARMM/ JUNE 6, 2022. Talking about life in Buliok, Pikit of the Special Geographical Areas of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Saida Abdulrahman, 45 cannot help but cry. Five years ago, her husband, a combatant was shot to death leaving his family of six.

Together with six other women in the village, whom we spoke with during our visit on May 3, 2022, Saida shared to us their living condition before BARMM.

“Before, we do not get assistance frequently compare to present days, now that we are part of the BARMM”, Saida told.  

“We are grateful for the BARMM. We have received many help from them. As a widow, I received monetary assistance, from which I bought goats for raising to augment our livelihood. Our family is also a recipient of food supply as flood-affected community”, she added.

Musrifa Sandigan, 33 is a former OFW. She returned home during the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein the situation was hard.

“I am lucky that I was among those who benefited from the land ambulance that fetched from the airport”, Musrifa stated.

The said ambulance is from the Ministry of Health (MOH-BARMM) funded through the Office of the Parliament Member Hon. Ali O. Salik.

As a former OFW, Musrifa likewise received cash aid from the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Member Salik through the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD).

Gemma Caludin, 50, from Antique embraced life in Brgy. Buliok years ago, when she met her husband in Manila. They got married and went home in Buliok. They have three kids. The husband is among the decommissioned combatants of the MILF.

The family of Monera Milog, 37, is a beneficiary of the cash for work program of the MSSD in 2021 with the Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) of Buliok. The project is the construction of dyke that helped to the flood control in the area.

Noraida Mangagi, 47, has six children whom sustained through farming. Sarina, 40, is also a mother, with three children. The family rely on farming and fishing for living.

Monera Tumampal, 55, was emotional while sharing the story of the death of her child away from home in year 2021.

Accordingly, for some reason, local authorities from the place of incident would not give the cadaver of her child. Through the help of MP Salik, with the use of the ambulance, the family was able to bring home the body and was given a proper burial based on Islamic tradition. 

These women are all beneficiary of the assistance from BARMM and the Office of MP Salik such as the food supply, cash assistance, road project, medical aid, land ambulance, school building, others.

The infamous Buliok, is a historical place popularly known as Buliok Complex, a war that happened in February 2003. It was where the late chairman of the MILF Hashim Salamat (May Allah have mercy on him) was doing a preach outdoor during the Eid’l Adha (feast of Sacrifice) prayer when they were attacked by government troops that led to the that battle.  

MP Salik, recalls that after the war, Brgy. Buliok became a ghost town. “People were able to return there, more than a year after that incident”.

Now, as one of the key officials of the transitioning Bangsamoro Government, MP Salik works to help and serve the Bangsamoro communities by legislation with services at the grassroots level.

At present, the village is a recipient of one- classroom school building, one unit for the two elementary schools in the barangay; the Buliok Elementary School in Purok 3 and Dagadas ES in Sitio Dagadas, all in the same barangay, through the Transitional Development Impact Fund (TDIF) with the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) facilitating the construction.

A fish landing is also being built that is relevant for the fisherfolks towards a better facility.

Brgy. Buliok, situated in a low-lying area surrounded by rivers connected to Liguasan Marsh, is composed of five sitios. It is a home to over a thousand Maguindanaon households. Before BARMMe road to the village was rough and difficult. With the project of the Bangsamoro Government through the MPW, that provides one- kilometer road for every barangay in the region, Brgy. Buliok now enjoy better road for easier transport.

Grateful of the progress in the community, Brgy. Buliok shared worries about the effect of climate change in their lives. Accordingly, flood becomes often in their village and the schedule is uncertain. This has affected the farming and fishing activities, which are the main source of living to many.

“Years ago, it floods maybe once or twice a year. We have certain and abundant harvest from farm. Fresh water fish are plenty. But now, failure of crops is often and there is rare fish being caught”, Sarina told.

Before the BARMM, the villagers informed us of the development projects coming in to their barangay.  The covered court built through the project of the Provincial Local Government Unit of North Cotabato.

The infrastructure was constructed in year 2018 at the place that was massively destructed during the war in 2002.

A water system project was provided for the households in Buliok, implemented by the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) with funds through the Mindanao Trust Fund- Reconstruction and Development Project Phase II (MTF-RDP/2), in support to the Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Looking back and looking forward, these women of Buliok pray for a long-lasting peace in Bangsamoro and for all.

“We pray that this peace and development continues as life gets better for everyone. We also hope that abundance in agriculture and fishery may flourish again because it is our life.”  

The youth and young professionals of Buliok

Shaira Salik,24, who is from barangay proudly said that among the villages in Pikit, Buliok is producing numerous Bangsamoro professionals who excel with their respective careers. Shaira is one presently working as Political Affairs IV under the office of BTA Member Salik.

Orphans Abjmylle Salik and Murnisa Bandan, 13, are also hopeful professionals from the barangay.

Abjmylle,11, wishes to become an engineer to help her family.  She has two heads of goats that she is raising from the cash assistance she received from BARMM. Murnisa was speechless during the interview as she suddenly missed her late father.

Maarrouff Salik, is a civil engineering student who has been helping us through the interview in May 3. His love for his home village is visible through his deep knowledge and understanding of the history, current situation, and the plans of the barangay.

For the women, widows, orphans and youth of Brgy. Buliok, life in the past may be dark, but with the Bangsamoro Government at present, life becomes peaceful and there is high hope and prayer for better tomorrow.


June 17, 2022. The Bangsamoro Region has rich resources potential for economic development. People are hardworking. However, significant factors are there challenging the wish to become economically stable and sustainable.

In belief of this capability on economic progress in the region from the grassroots level, series of community consultations were organized across the provinces of BARMM including camp communities and indigenous people (IP) communities.

Participants to the consultations were women and widows. During the activity, participants shared information about the available raw materials potential for enterprise development. The process allowed them to identify and decide about the local enterprise that the project might support to help supplement their regular family income.

The process employed was the community-based enterprise planning technique (CEPT).

This effort to develop social enterprise at the community level is part of the on-going implementation of the SUBATRA-ECSO (Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Interventions in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition), specifically for target output on helping improve the access to basic social services and social protection projects of vulnerable/marginalized groups in Bangsamoro.

Under the project, a social enterprise group is organized upon identification of their target produce for marketing. The project will provide them the necessary skills and training with the help of a third- party service provider. Tools and equipment needed for the enterprise development will also be afforded to the beneficiaries.

The plan is to help the people appreciate the available resources at the community level and utilize those materials, produce into saleable products from which they can have additional source of income to help their families.

The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) is the implementing office of the project together with partners civil society organizations (CSOs) such as Raja Mamalo Descendants of Southern Philippines, Inc., Ittihadun Nisa Foundation, Inc. (INFO), MILF Social Welfare Committee (SWC), Taga Youth Concern Association (Basilan), KABALIKAT Civicom (Sulu) and League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO for Tawi-Tawi island).

BDA and partners believe that providing communities with the skills and equipment motivates them to become optimistic of better life. It teaches them of self- reliance, resourcefulness and unity.


SUBATRA-ECSO works for the Component 4 of the Justice and Society Project of the SUBATRA Programme that helps BARMM lay the foundation for lasting peace and development in the region by strengthening the capacities of its institutions to establish an enabling democratic governance environment during the transition period. 

The Project generally aims to contribute to a peaceful, cohesive, secure and inclusively developed Bangsamoro. It specifically intends to enhance the capacity of the civil society to contribute to a peaceful transition to BARMM.

It is funded by the European Union (#EU), and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (#AECID).

Tuesday, 14 June 2022 11:47

Ramadhan in Bangsamoro

April 7, 2022. Ramadhan is the ninth month in Hijra Calendar. It is a holy month in Islam. Ramadan is a month of sharing. It is a month where rewards to good deeds are multiplied. During Ramadhan, Muslims (believers of Islam religion) around the world perform fasting. They only eat for suhoor (meal before sun rise) and break the fast at sunset. Fasting on Ramadhan is the fourth among the five pillars of Islam.

As regularly being preached, Ramadhan is not only about burning of fats and calories, moreover, it is a chance for the Muslims to burn their pride and sins. This blessed month encourages Muslims to multiple their good deeds, because it is said that the gates of heaven are open this time. Worldwide, common practice among various organizations is the distribution of food items to most needy communities, affected by poverty, crisis, natural calamities, war, others.

In Bangsamoro, Southern Philippines, known for its history of conflict and struggle, different humanitarian institutions come every year to deliver assistance to conflict- affected families in the region.

Food packs provided to selected families are significant to supplement the daily meals of the beneficiaries, who are usually relying to daily income for day-to-day living.

Saadia Alipolo, 64 a senior citizen in Brgy. Matuber, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao received 16 kilos of rice along with other food items this Ramadhan. Living with her family of four, with the four grandchildren, Saadia said that the items will be good enough for the family’s meal for at least seven days.

Bong Ansa, a farmer and fisherman has four kids and is happy receiving also food packs this Ramadhan. Like him, Nasir Bunter, an operator of pump-boat, with five children, did not mind the heavy rain just to get the relief goods for his family this holy month. They are from Brgy. Katidtuan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

A mother beneficiary in Kabuntalan, Maguindanao was speechless when she was receiving the food pack. She could not even utter his name, because of overflowing emotion and repeatedly saying “shukran (thank you), we will have food for suhoor”. She does laundry and dishwashing, while her husband does fishing and sometimes construction works, to sustain the family.

Orphans in Bangsamoro are also receiving Ramadhan aid this blessed month. Some are chosen for free Iftar (breaking of fast) and others are getting gifts, usually prayer dress/ clothes.

Inspiring stories

In a neighborhood in Cotabato City, people voluntarily share any amount from which, the total cost will be used to buy food that they can eat together to break the fast before a congregational prayer upon sunset.

It is common among rural communities to share foods on Ramadhan. Neighbors usually share the food they have in belief that food shared are more blessed.

Non- fasting Muslims, usually women (due to menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding or illness) can earn rewards while not fasting on Ramadhan. They can help prepare foods for Iftar, an act which is being blessed. Good deeds counted are not limited to preparation or cooking for meals, doing house chores during Ramadhan and after meals e.g., washing the dishes are also rewarded. "Every good deed is charity." (Sahih Muslim 1005). 

Al-Bukhaari (1425) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If a woman gives from the food that is in her house, without causing any damage [i.e., without spending unreasonably], she will have a reward for what she gave, and her husband will have a reward for what he earned, and the storekeeper will have a similar reward, without the reward of any of them detracting from the reward of the others at all.

Religious activities

Informed by the phrase ‘Whoever feeds a person breaking his fast will earn the same reward as him, without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person’. [Tirmidhi]”, Muslims who can afford sponsor free meals for iftar (breaking of fast). Some organize symposium where a religious leader is invited to deliver teachings about Ramadhan and Islam. Individuals are encouraged to read the holy Qur’an during this month. Taraweh (an evening prayer during Ramadhan) is a not obligatory but Muslims are strongly encouraged to perform it. It is a confirmed Sunnah. Abu Hurayrah said:The Prophet used to urge the people to pray night prayers in Ramadan without him authoritatively ordering them to do so.” The Prophet said: “Whoever stands at night prayer in Ramadan while believing in Allah Who prescribed it and while seeking its reward from Him, will have his past sins forgiven. [Muslim]

Ramadhan Fair

In Bangsamoro Region, Ramadhan Fair is opened every year in relevance to this holy month. Food stalls along with other items that is relevant to Ramadhan are typically available at Ramadhan Fairs. Fairs are decorated with colorful lights that gives attraction to people visiting the place. People usually come after Taraweh to enjoy local attractions, meet with friends and or relatives and eat foods together, buy non- food items like prayer clothes, hijab (veil), others. Ramadhan Fair helps local entrepreneurs while promoting the spirit of this holy month by getting together during this time of the blessed month.

Dishes in Ramadhan

Ramadhan may not only be a fasting from foods, but let us be honest about loving and craving for special foods during this blessed month.

For this article, it is fair to say that it is not actually forbidden to buy luxurious foods on Ramadhan, especially that one can afford it. But as Muslims, we must always be reminded of humility and compassion to others, especially those who are less fortunate. One can have the best food, and it would be best of the best if it is shared to others.

On Ramadhan, local restaurants install food stands right outside their location for easy pick-up of buyers. This strategy is saleable to people who have limited time for cooking and preparation of foods.

Ramadhan and peacebuilding

Ramadhan brings a special message to mankind. As fasting is required for all Muslim, regardless of social status (with exemption for those in special conditions e.g., health), everyone will have the same feeling of hunger and thirst, hot, hardship and sacrifice, thus the rich realize the life of the poor who experience limited food on their table, and difficulties to survive life, most of the time.

During this holy month, non- Muslims become used to the culture and are respectful to friends, neighbors and colleagues who are fasting on Ramadhan. In Bangsamoro Region, office hours are usually modified in this month to give enough time for the Muslim employees to do preparations for Iftar and other relevant activities. Classes in regular schools (before the pandemic) were also modified to less the burden to Muslim students.

Ramadhan is also a month of forgiveness. This month is divided into three parts; the 1st ten days (rahmah/ mercy); 2nd ten days (maghfirah/ forgiveness) and; last ten days (nijat/ safety from hellfire).

On the 2nd ten days, Muslim seeks forgiveness from Allah (s.w.t). It is the period for repentance and rebuilding relations between those who were in conflict, thus promoting peace.

Every Ramadhan, it is a common prayer that everyone may feel and enliven the true spirit of this significant month, and the message of love, patience, hope and peace.

COTABATO CITY/ April 26, 2022.  Carrying the banner “certainly the believers are brothers”, various humanitarian foundations from Turkey send food packs for thousands of families in Bangsamoro this holy month of Ramadhan.

Turkey has been supportive of the peace process and has been sponsoring numerous development and humanitarian projects in the Bangsamoro communities.

This year, Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi (TDV) who sent representatives, distributed food packages to 1, 500 needy families in Cotabato City and in the municipalities of Sultan Kudarat, Datu Blah Sinsuat, and Parang all in Maguindanao province.

500 Moro orphans smiled upon receiving Ramadhan/ Eid Gifts from TDV that contained prayer dress/ clothe (with hijab/ veil for girls).

Sadaqatasi, whose sponsors led the distribution of food packages benefited 400 families outside BARMM, a group of women and widows in Maguindanao and boat operators in Cotabato City.  

Weltweiter Einsatz für Arme (WEFA), distributed 100 food packs this blessed month. The organization is also sponsoring free meals for iftar (breaking of fast) to selected orphanage centers in Cotabato City. WEFA also sponsored gifts for the orphans that made their Ramadhan more meaningful.

Representatives from Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) joined also during the delivery of 1, 400 number of food packages to needy families in Maguindanao. IHH also sponsored free iftar to selected orphanages in Bangsamoro.

In a short message, Turkish brothers said “let us all pray that there will be more ridzki (blessing), so that we can help more families in need”.

Beneficiaries’ stories

Each year, in the implementation of Ramadhan Program, we see and hear stories of our beneficiaries who are all grateful for the blessing they received this holy month.

Saadia Alipolo, 64 a senior citizen in Brgy. Matuber, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao received 16 kilos of rice along with other food items this Ramadhan. Living with her family of four, with the four grandchildren. Saadia said that the items will be good enough for the family’s meal for at least seven days.

Bong Ansa, a farmer and fisherman has four kids and is happy receiving also food packs this Ramadhan. Like him, Nasir Bunter, an operator of pump-boat, with five children, did not mind the heavy rain just to get the relief goods for his family this holy month. They are from Brgy. Katidtuan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

A mother beneficiary in Kabuntalan, Maguindanao was speechless when she was receiving the food pack. She could not even utter his name, because of overflowing emotion and repeatedly saying “shukran (thank you), we will have food for suhoor”. She does laundry and dishwashing, while her husband does fishing and sometimes construction works, to sustain the family.

Since 2014, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.), has been facilitating the implementation of Ramadhan Program within and outside the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Through the program, BDA Inc. helps in sending the message of Ramadhan, which is about giving, sharing, and sacrifice. It helps send the message of love, hope and peace in the region, whose people are still recovering from armed conflict in the past, living with the current COVID-19 pandemic and by the recent natural calamity this month. Data from the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) states that more or less 70, 000 families in BARMM were displaced due to flood caused by Typhoon Agaton that hit the Philippines April 2022. (BDA Communication Team)