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Thursday, 16 March 2023 01:19

BRIDGING THE GAPS, BECOMING THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TO BARMM- Restating the role of CSOs in support to the Bangsamoro Transition

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MARCH 16, 2023/COTABATO CITY. In September 2021, the project SUBATRA-ECSO: Enhancing CSOs Capacities towards Inclusive Development Intervention in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition was successfully launched and has formally kicked off for its full blast implementation.

The project generally aims to contribute to peaceful transition in BARMM and works for the Component 4 of the entire SUBATRA Programme that is on “Justice and Society Project- The capacity of civil society to contribute to a peaceful transition to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is enhanced.”

Now on its second year of implementation, the project wanted to evaluate its performance and partial result particularly in the aspect of engaging the Bangsamoro CSOs to enhance their capacities as they fulfill their relevant role towards peace and development, especially in the current transition in the Bangsamoro.

For this purpose, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) as implementing agency of the project gathered its partner CSOs on March 10, 2023 at Pagana Resto in Cotabato City for a story telling about the experience and evaluation of the SUBATRA-ECSO.

For the League of Bangsamoro Organization (LBO), a network of over 600 CSOs established in 2014, the project is helpful in enriching the knowledge of CSO members. Its member organization, the TABED (Talainged Alliance of Brotherhood for Empowerment and Development, Inc.) headed by Baddy Ebrahim replicated the training on human rights and integrated risk and resilience management to its members.

Efren Butuan of LBO through his own organization, the Bangsamoro Magungaya for Peace and Development, Inc. (BMPDI) lauded the BDA Inc. for its transparent implementation of the SUBATRA-ECSO.


Amir Hamza S. Mama of the LBO- UNYPAD (United Youth for Peace and Development) in Lanao del Sur conveyed that the training attended from the project was helpful for his professional growth.

“The book on project development and management was indeed helpful for us. It has become our reference when we do project proposals. Also, by having one of the participants to the development of manual on HR, I was asked to join and help in our office for the formulation of the manual with our current project”, Amir stated.

Florante Dela Cruz and Maria-Victoria Balatucan of Raja Mamalo Descendants of Southern Philippines, Inc.- a non-government organization established for the welfare of indigenous people, are convinced that the project has helped them reach more IPs that they could not do before.

“Through the SUBATRA-ECSO, we were able to realize our dreams, to reach those communities we could not visit due to some limitations of our organization” they reported.

Representatives from the Taga Youth Concerned Association from the island of Basilan said that their organization is established to help youth be enlightened about the importance of education and be prevented from the threat of being recruited to armed groups prevalent during the past years.

Tawab Kararon manifested that all its pioneering members are all professionals and working in various fields at present.

“Taga Youth continue to organized youth in our community to train the next generation with social activities like the civil society”, he said.

His colleague, Arsim Alih believed that CSOs are the voice of the people to speak with the government.  

Baiselyn Utto and Nashiba Abas from the Kapagawida Development Services Association, Inc. (KDSAi) are grateful that the training on human rights through the SUBATRA-ECSO helped them become more equipped with knowledge and information that enable them to respond to common questions at the grassroots level.

They are likewise glad that with the engagement for the implementation of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) wherein they can use their experience to cater the needs of those sectors in the camp communities.

KDSAi commended the fair selection of learners for the implementation of the ALS in the camps.

“It was really based on the list of learners from previous project and not based on personal recommendations of camp leaders”, they stated.

The Ittihadun Nisa Foundation, Inc. (INFO) manifested that they looked up at BDA Inc. in terms of capacity building. The trainings provided through the project was relevant to them particularly on administrative and financial management, which they adopt for accounting and documentation.

Overall, partner CSOs for this project hope that more assistance will be available to serve more communities. They believe in the significant role of the CSOs in the current transition in the Bangsamoro having established the trust and confidence of the people.

“People put their trust more to the CSOs compare to government. They saw that CSO-implemented projects become a reality, while many of government funded projects are often delay or not completed at all”, partner CSOs reported.

In September 2021, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim recognized the relevant role of the CSOs: “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”.

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

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