COTABATO CITY-BARMM/ August 14, 2023. Information about access to and how to were some of the key points elucidated to and between the members of the people’s organizations (PO), the civil society organizations (CSO) and the ministries and offices of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) during the CSOs Mainstreaming in Support to Bangsamoro Transition on August 10, 2023 2023 at Robinsons Mall of Al-Nor, Cotabato City.
With the facilitation of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.), PO members and the CSOs were able to communicate directly their concerns and queries to the officials and representatives of the BARMM and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) regarding the services they needed at the community level to help improve their living conditions.
BARMM and BTA openly responded to their concerns, which was significant to bridge the gaps and helped in managing the expectations from the grassroots level.
This CSOs Mainstreaming is in relevance to the project SUBATRA-ECSO: Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Interventions in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition- funded by the European Union and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.
Improving socio-economic services in the camps through signed partnership agreement between BDA and partnerWritten by BDA Communications
The signing is for the Bangsamoro Camps Transformation Project (BCTP) between the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) and the Community and Family Services International (CFSI) on July 28, 2023 in Cotabato City.
Relevant to camps transformation, the project aims to improve the access to socio-economic services and basic infrastructure of the communities within the Six (6) previously acknowledged Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) camps.
Present in the signing were Mangontawar Macacuna, chairman of the BDA Inc. Board of Directors, Steven Muncy, executive director of CFSI, Rhadzni Taalim, executive director of BDA Inc., Noraida Abdullah Karim, CFSI Director for Mindanao Programme and Ali O. Salik, coordinator of Joint Task Forces on Camps Transformation (JTFCT) MILF.
Chairman Mangontawar expressed his gratitude for the trust that was extended to BDA being the lead partner of the BCTP project.
He said that, “we are very committed, In shaa Allah, to strive hard as we are guided by one of our core values which is striving for excellence”.
BDA exec. dir. Taalim emphasized the importance of said agreement for the transformation of the target communities in the Bangsamoro.
“Let us remember that we are not just implementing a project, but we are contributing to the positive transformation of communities and lives of the Bangsamoro people”, Taalim said.
An inception workshop was facilitated and concluded on the same date wherein roles and responsibilities of each party were discussed and clarified.
BCTP helps in supporting the gains of the peace process and the legitimacy of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB).
It is funded under the Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund (BNTF) administered by the World Bank.
July 29, 2023/MAGUINDANAO-BARMM. In the Philippines, July is a Nutrition Month with this year's theme "healthy diet, gawing affordable for all". Relevance to this theme is the inclusive provision of social services to indigenous people (IP) communities and other vulnerable groups in the six barangays in four municipalities of Maguindanao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
This is through distribution of nutritious food packs to 480 beneficiaries coming from various sectors such as indigenous people, women and widows, solo parents, person with disabilities, orphans and elderlies.
For some we have talked to, the food pack received is beneficial to their daily meals, especially that they remain displaced due to unstable peace and order in their remote village in the uphill of the barangay.
"We often have two instead of three meals in a day because of little income. We do farming to sustain our daily needs. Right now, we are still at the temporary shelters provided by the BLGU because there is still a threat of armed conflict in our homes. We hope to have permanent homes because the condition is difficult."
The provision of food packs to vulnerable groups is in relevance to the SUBATRA-ECSO: Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Interventions in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition, specifically for Output 4.4 "access to basic social services and social protection projects of vulnerable/marginalized groups is improved".
The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) facilitated the distribution on July 29, 2023 for the first two barangays in Datu Hoffer. This was in partnership with the Raja Mamalo Descendants of Southern Philippines, Inc., Barangay Local Government Units (BLGUS) of Tuayan and Talibadok all in Datu Hoffer Maguindanao and in coordination with the Joint Task Force on Camps Transformation (JTFCT).
Partners from the BARMM and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the Municipal LGU of Datu Hoffer and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) joined the distribution.
The Ministry of Indigenous People's Affair (MIPA-BARMM) representatives from Offices of MP Froilyn Mendoza and MP Ramon Piang of BTA provided short information about the programs and services of their offices that the people may access and avail.
SUBATRA-ECSO as a project is funded by the European Union (EU) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
June 10, 2023. We present to you the compiled stories of decommissioned combatants we met in relevant to the implementation of the program in support to camps transformation and development. Here’s the link for the full narratives of our peace advocates highlighted below.
JULY 2023/ COTABATO CITY-BARMM. For the employees in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the Values Transformation Training (VTT) strengthens their faith, developed their attitude, character and behavior as public servant.
Some remarked that the facilitation of the VTT is fair and inclusive, where there is more understanding, no judgements and there is respect regardless of religious affiliation of the participants.
VTT is a three-day activity that teaches the importance of self-reflection for self-change and personality development.
It helps the individual assess one’s self based on the teachings of Universal values. VTT motivates the participant understand how faith becomes the foundation of good values for a person to grow and develop and become an effective and productive member of the society.
Further, it supports the principle that change must begin with one’s self.
Since 2019, numerous employees in the BARMM were illuminated by the influence of the VTT and this has helped them be reminded of the relevance of faith-based values guiding them to become a better public servant.
Data shows that in 2022, there were 660 employees in the BARMM who underwent VTT. They are coming from various ministries/ offices such as the Office of the Chief Minister, Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Finance and Budget Management (MFBM), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), and from the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
290 personnel from the Bangsamoro Government completed VTT in year 2021.
In 2019, employees from MAFAR, Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG) and the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA, then RPDO) learned about the iconic VTT.
For some of the participants, the training promotes inclusivity in diversity. “Indeed, religion is not hindrance in public service”, one participant told.
Other participant was amazed by the visual presentation of the training materials. “It is my first time to see visuals about Islami Values. I am happy that there is now a promotion of moral governance”, he stated.
The implementation of the VTT in BARMM is being worked out by the BDA Inc. as official facilitator in coordination with the Development Academy of the Bangsamoro (DAB-BARMM).
Aside from the workforce of the BARMM, VTT has also become enlightening for other sectors in the Bangsamoro Region.
In 2019, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) through its Technical Education and Skills Development (TESD) Office in agreement to integrate the Values Transformation Training (VTT) in the Bangsamoro Scholarship Program that provides short courses to identified trainees in the Bangsamoro Region.
7, 700 trainees underwent VTT in 2020. Two thousand eight hundred sixty in 2021 and 3, 394 in 2022.
One hundred five health professionals learned about VTT in year 2020. For them, the training reminded them of the importance of value-based healthcare service.
VTT was also integrated to the program for the decommissioned combatants (DCs) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). There were 357 DCs who completed values training in 2020.
Members of cooperatives supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) are also being required of VTT. In 2021, there were 605 members completing the values training and in 2022, 640 cooperative members were able to finish the values transformation course.
“VTT is significant for the social and spiritual development of our clients at MOST who are members of the cooperatives we are supporting”, MOST stated.
In 2022, there were 390 beneficiaries of the project SUBATRA-ECSO: Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Intervention in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition who completed the VTT.
VTT has been a strong foundation of the BDA Inc. since inception. It has become its essential tool to organize, mobilize, and sustain its volunteers within and outside BARMM.
JUNE 30, 2023. / MAGUINDANAO-BARMM. In rural communities in the Bangsamoro Region, sharing of meals among neighbors is a common practice that speaks of the generosity and compassion of communities to each other. This tradition has been observed since the time of our ancestors and has been passed on from generation to generation, up until now.
With the recent celebration of the Eid’l Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), the spirit of sharing has been felt further by hundreds of families in some communities in the Bangsamoro who received free Qurban meat.
Qurban meat are from the sacrificed animals (goat, sheep or cow) that were offered in honor of the divine act of Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) who was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience and faith to Allah s.w.t.
Every year, this act of worship is performed by Muslims around the world who has the capacity to provide for any of the said animals, which meat are distributed to poor families.
This deed has become relevant to sustain the teaching on the importance of sacrifice and sharing in the name of faith.
The family of Tima Mispil Engkas, 29, a mother of eight in Barangay Kedati, Talayan, Maguindanao Del Sur, is among the beneficiaries of the Qurban Program where they received free meat.
Farming is the source of income of the family to survive the day-to-day life.
Tima was not able to attend school so there is no permanent job for her. She is a full-time housewife taking care of her eight children.
Her husband cultivates corn and rice. While waiting for harvest season, the husband drives a pedicab to earn income.
In receiving Qurban meat, Tima expressed gratitude being delighted of having something special to serve for the family during this time of the year.
According to her, the family usually celebrates Eid Adha with “tapay”, a traditionally prepared fermented rice common in the province of Maguindanao in BARMM. This is consumed and shared together after the Eid prayer.
This Eid, Tima prays for forgiveness of their sins and asked Allah for the blessings to the family.
Despite the challenges in life, Tima remains hopeful for a better future for her children.
She hopes for assistance from the Bangsamoro Government and for the development of their community.
Also, from Maguindanao, is a mother named Fatima Uyag of Brgy. Upper Taviran, Kabuntalan.
She has three children whom she looks after since they are still young and small.
The husband is a fisherman and sometimes works as a construction worker.
The family struggle to have enough food on daily basis.
"It is painful to see our children in this state, but we are used to this life condition”, Fatima said.
They can only eat depends on what is earned for a day. There are even times where there is none at all.
However, Fatima is still thankful because her family is happy being together.
The family is also a recipient of free Qurban meat on Eid’l Adha.
Fatima was very happy saying that they only get beef when there is Qurban on the neighborhood or as sponsored by some organizations.
"We are happy and excited every Eid'l Adha because this is the only time, we can eat beef." Fatima stated.
She added that “if not for this free Qurban meat, we could have not spent our Eid with any special food because we cannot afford it”.
She sends thanks to the donors who give Qurban meat.
“May Allah reward you all and increase your wealth so that you can help more poor people like us”, Fatima conveyed.
The distribution of Qurban meat to thousands of families in selected communities in the provinces of Maguindanao (del Sur and Norte) and Lanao del Sur was facilitated by the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.), as part of the implementation of Qurban Program 2023 from June 25-30.
This year, the program is sponsored by partners from Turkey like Turkiye Dyanet Vakfi (TDV), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) and Weltweiter Einsatz für Arme (WEFA.
MAY 2023-COTABATO CITY. For some whom we met and talked with for a while, the program gives them hope in life despite being detained in jail for a crime committed.
This is through the Bangsamoro Scholarship for Technical Vocation Education and Training (TVET) of the Ministry of Basic Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) BARMM.
Sixteen persons deprive of liberty (PDL) benefited from the program and have undergone training on Electrical Installation and Maintenance (EIM NC-II).
Under the program is the integration of the Values Transformation Training (VTT), a three-day activity that promotes and teaches faith-based values towards self-change and personality development.
The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) facilitated the VTT for the PDLs on May 2-4, 2023 at BJMP Cotabato City.
“We are very thankful for giving us this opportunity. We are confident that when we will be freed, hopefully, we have this knowledge and skills that we can use to get a job or earn income for our family”, a PDL said.
Enlightened by the teachings during the VTT, the PDL stated “I admit that when I was outside, before being here in jail, I spend mostly of my life for worldly desire. Here, I was enlightened, through this program”.
According to the jail officer in BJMP, they plan to conduct similar activity for the PDLs monthly and shall coordinate with the BDA Inc., who is official facilitator and resource person of the VTT.
It was in 2019 when BDA Inc. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the TESD of MBHTE-BARMM for the implementation of VTT intended to instill the importance of faith-based values as foundation in developing a mass of individuals, professionals and leaders in the Bangsamoro.
APRIL 26, 2023. In the low-land and marshy village of Barangay Balong, Northern Kabuntalan, Maguindanao located in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), fifty households have just returned home from months of stay at the evacuation centers, and are currently struggling to recover and rebuild their lives from the effect of recent armed conflict due to rido (clan feud) in the place.
Sittie Guiadel, 55, a mother of eight in the village, told us their story of rising up from the said calamity and how are they living right now.
“Livelihood is affected because of what happened. Fishing and farming (a primary source of income to many) become difficult because many of our men are still not confident to go out because of safety and security”, Sittie stated.
She recalls the days at the evacuation center where they were not able to bring anything because of fear during the conflict.
“We have nothing. We can only rely from the assistance handed to us. We are thankful that there were people and organizations who immediately acted to our needs during that time”, she told.
Sittie’s family and many of their neighbors found refuge to nearby barangays where they stayed over three months while the armed conflict was happening.
When they return, a month ago, it was hard to recover and bring back to the natural state in the community.
“The experience was tough. It is still fresh for us, being in that situation. Livelihood were interrupted. Education of the children was affected. Some men who joined the battle were dead. Some properties were destroyed”, Sittie said.
Sittie and other neighbors have recently received food packs (25 kilo of rice, three kilos of sugar, oil, and coffee) as part of the program during the holy month of Ramadhan.
They expressed their gratitude for this blessing that bestowed upon them in this time of crisis in their lives.
“Shukran for this ridzki (blessing). We really need help because we are indeed in a difficult state, right now. We hope and pray for your help”, Sittie pleaded.
Meanwhile, in the nearby town in Brgy. Upper Taviran, Kabuntalan in the same province, Tarhata Midzakal, 26, lives by her family of four: two young kids and her husband.
Tarhata does laundry in the neighborhood where she earns money to help sustain the family. Her husband is a carpenter and a fisherman, both a low-income type of job.
"Life is very difficult. My husband is a fisherman and sometimes, there is no catch for him to bring something for the family back home”, she stated.
Her husband would do carpentry works if there is no chance for income from fishing.
For Tarhata, it would be a lucky day if someone from the neighbors ask her to do a laundry where she gets P150.00 pesos per basket.
Aside from the less chance to get a regular job, Tarhata cannot leave her children yet since they are still young, who needs immediate care from their mother.
She was very thankful for the food pack received and hopes that there will be more to come.
For her, it is a big blessing that will help her and the family during this Ramadhan.
This food items, according to her, can last a month for her family.
Abdulraof Gumising, 37, also in the same village is thankful as beneficiary of the food pack.
He has four children. He is a fisherman from which he earns barely enough for his family.
Abdulraof’s wife is a full-time mother, taking care of the children.
Sometimes, his wife would sell local goods, but most of the time would prioritize the little kids who are still young.
Abdulraof shared how hard life is, especially when he has nothing to bring home for his family.
"Whatever I earn a day, I just make it work. What hurts most is whenever there is no catch to sell for income”, he stated.
He is deeply grateful for the food packs received during this holy month, that can sustain the needs of the family for a number of weeks.
This year, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) has delivered 200 food packs for Ramadhan 2023, in selected communities of Cotabato City and Maguindanao province. It is sponsored by the Weltweiter Einsatz fur Arme (WEFA), a partner foundation in Turkey.
Every year, BDA Inc. implements Ramadhan Program, through provision of food packs to poor families in the Bangsamoro Region. This program has become helpful for the family-beneficiaries to supplemental to their daily needs, which are usually barely enough or lesser due to poor life conditions.
Ramadhan is a holy month in Islam. It is when Muslims perform the 4th pillar of Islam. It is the month when the doors of jannah are opened. It is when rewards to good deeds are multiplied.
In this blessed month, employees and volunteers of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) got together and broke fast together on April 7, 2023 at Em Manor Hotel, Cotabato City.
Everyone was joyful for this gathering of past and present volunteers of BDA Inc., who have met once again now that many of them are already working in various ministries and offices in the Bangsamoro Government and in different private institutions and outside the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
In his message, Dr. Rizaldy Piang, current minister of the Ministry of Health (MOH-BARMM), was grateful for the chance to see each other again, and for the time given by everyone to gather in this activity.
“This meeting is relieving like the good old times. We thank those who came from a distance”, Dr. Piang stated.
He added, “Let us strive to improve our bond for the sustainability of the Bangsamoro Development Agency.”
Ustadz Mohammad S. Yacob, member of the parliament of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and the minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrariar Reform (MAFAR-BARMM), highlighted the achievement of the BDA as an agency recognized for its capacity as stated in its slogan “building people who will build the nation”.
“BDA has produced professionals who are among those, helping the current Bangsamoro Government, one is through the Values Transformation Training (VTT)”, Minister Yacob remarked.
He added, “VTT becomes the strength of BDA to remain standing because it is relevant to the advocacy on moral governance by the Bangsamoro Government.”
Yacob recognized the commitment of volunteers that is relevant to the sustainability of the BDA, as agency of the MILF.
He further encourages the BDA family to remain positive and that they, who are in the Bangsamoro Government now, are open to listen and help the agency.
“Do not be hesitant to approach us, because we are family”, Yacob ended.
For many, the gathering was indeed a reconnection for those who have seen each other for the long time.
Hashim Manticayan believes that this is very effective because brothers and sisters in this family meet each other again and relieve the past.
Guiamaludin Sampulna, is also glad for the chance to see each other in this event.
“The knowledge we have and the place we are at present is all due to BDA”, he stated.
Rhadzni Taalim, the current executive director of BDA Inc. is pleased and touched by the attendance of everyone.
With this gathering, BDA Inc. is more motivated to pursue the plan for a general assembly of BDA Family.
BDA is a development arm of the MILF established in 2002 and has emerged as duly registered non- government organization in 2019 with the official name, BDA Inc.
Over the years, it has been working for the relief and rehabilitation of underserved communities guided by its core values towards sustainable service in the Bangsamoro.
MARCH 2023/ UPI, MAGUINDANAO-BARMM. Coming from uphill village of Brgy. Romongob, Upi, Maguindanao, these group of women who belong to the indigenous people (IP) sector get together regularly to plant a seed of hope towards better life for their families.
They are organized through the project SUBATRA-ECSO: Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Intervention in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition, in desire to help improve their access to basic services wherein they were provided with skills training on vegetable production, a potential livelihood for local economic development, and is suitable with the good soil and weather condition in the area.
Bellalyn Dalimbang, 36, is a mother to two children. Her husband works as security guard in a local hospital while she, does planting with some farm animals.
Rebecca Arig, is a widow providing solely for her children. Perlita Dominggo provides for her two children who are both schooling. Erma Labaydaga, 54, has two children studying in college. Liezel Sariguit has the same story prioritizing the education of their kids.
All of them have the same vision for their children to finish studies. They hope that there will be available educational assistance because according to them, it is really hard to provide for the school fees.
“We really hope for support like scholarship. Usually, we can afford their education from elementary to secondary, but it is really hard when they reach college because there are many fees to settle which is hard for us”, these mothers stated.
In joining their group for this project, all have the same response that is in hope to get support for better life, especially for the education of their children.
“We are poor, life is difficult. We really hope that our children will complete their studies because that is their chance to better future”, they said.
These women group are thankful for being part of the project, wherein they are continuously learning new techniques in planting, where they get source of income for their families.
Some of them are coming from remotest part of the village, walking three- hours to reach their vegetable production site in Sitio Kulati of Romongaob.
“It is hard but we are willing to sacrifice and be patient in hope that we will soon reap the fruits of this labor”, the IP women remarked.
Under the SUBATRA-ECSO Project, vulnerable groups such as women and IPs are prioritized to receive assistance. One of this is the support on skills training from which they are provided with necessary capacity building relevant towards social enterprise development.
For the group in Brgy. Romongaob, beneficiaries underwent training on vegetable production with the Magungaya United Farmers Association, Inc. as service provider and resource person.
Overall, there are six IP communities covered by the project. In Romongaob, 90% of the eighty identified beneficiaries are Teduray.
SUBATRA-ECSO is funded by the European Union and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.
SUPPORT TO NORMALIZATION IN BANGSAMORO: Cooperatives in camp communities get assistance towards transformation and progressWritten by BDA Communications
COTABATO CITY/ March 31, 2023. Cooperatives in communities within the identified camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) received farm machineries as part of the support relevant to assist them become more productive and progressive members of the society.
In Brgy. Sandab, Butig, Lanao del Sur- Camp Bushra, the handover ceremony of 2 units of farm machinery with harvester was on March 29, 2023, as received by two cooperatives namely Bangsamoro Unified Team into Growth (BUTIG) and Poktan Bangsamoro Rehabilitation Farmers Marketing Cooperative.
In Brgy. Dungguan, Datu Montawal, Maguindanao- Camp Rajamuda, the hand-over ceremony happened on February 28, 2023.
Kudal- Dugguan Farmers Fisherfolks Association received one rice combine harvester machine.
“I thought of how can I help those in-need, so I pursue forming this association though my knees are getting older” Margian Dataya stated. He is the president of said association.
The barangay local government unit remarked that: “We are very glad that the community focused on development at the barangay level through the efforts of our community dwellers because we crave for development.”
In Brgy. Tamparan, Munai, Lanao del Norte- Camp Bilal, the handover ceremony was conducted on March 7, 2023.
There were two cooperatives who received the support namely Pagnawan Bangsamoro Agriculture Cooperative and Alhajj Bravo Macapaar Coperative.
Key officials from partners attended the event like Cesar D. De Mesa, executive director of the Bangsamoro Transition; BGen. Cesar B. Yano (Ret.), GPH Implementing Panel Chair for then GPH-MILF Peace Accord and; Dir. Farrah Grace V. Naparan, chief of staff of the Joint Normalization Division of OPAPRU.
Also present were officials from the Joint Task Forces on Camps Transformation (JTFCT), Task Force for Decommissioned Combatants and their Communities (TFDCC), local government unit, and community members.
“Let us help each other, we will continue supporting communities who also help themselves” Chairman Yano said.
“Our project PROACTIVE is under the normalization track. It covers the six major camps and are working to turn these communities into a peaceful, productive and developed communities” Melanio Adao, Project Analyst of UNDP stated.
The ceremony highlighted the passing of the responsibility to the cooperatives who will manage the operation, maintenance and sustainability of the machineries.
The provision of farm machineries is part of the intervention relevant to the Programme on Assistance for Camp Transformation through Inclusion, Violence Prevention and Economic Empowerment (PROACTIVE)- a collaborative programme of the United Nations 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).
BRIDGING THE GAPS, BECOMING THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TO BARMM- Restating the role of CSOs in support to the Bangsamoro TransitionWritten by BDA Communications
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”.
(FEBRUARY 28, 2023/ PAGALUNGAN, MAGUINDANAO-BARMM). “While there was armed conflict, I as a mother was also in battle to secure my kids from famine and war”, Babu Ina ni Gunda said as she recalls life during war years ago.
Babu (Maguindanaon term for elderly woman) Ina (mother) ni (of) Gunda with the complete name Mondingan Kagui Kabasalan is a 71-year-old widow from Brgy. Kilangan, Pagalungan, Maguindanao- a community within Camp Rajamuda (one of the MILF’s six major camps as identified in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro- CAB).
During the war in the past years, before this present peace in the land, Babu Ina ni Gunda has had three children. Her husband is among the ‘mujahiddeen/ warriors’ who were fighting those days. Hence, she had to take the lead for the survival of the children.
She recalls that “instead of taking care of the laundry, education and leisure time of my children, I was in a battle to secure my kids’ from famine and war.”
She said that in order to get food from their cornfield, they sneaked at night time travelling kilometers after kilometers of cold, dark and fearful land. They have to cross bodies of water to secretly harvest corns from the field and carried them back at the evacuation center where her children are waiting for her to bring foods.
“It was really hard for us mothers being an evacuee especially when you have children”, Babu Ina ni Gunda stated.
She said that they have been into the same situation due to protracted conflict in the past, since 1972, until peace and development has started reigning in the Bangsamoro.
Now, Babu Ina ni Gunda is 71 years old, with ten (10) children and twenty (20) grandchildren.
She is happily taking care of her backyard garden in their village in Camp Rajamuda.
“I really love gardening, that is why if you don’t mine, I will show to you my small garden so that maybe you give some vegetable seed” she uttered with a genuine smile on her face.
Babu Ina ni Gunda’s grandson is among the members of the Sustainable Farmers Agriculture Association in their village. She is always eager to listen and attend to community meetings and especially this day when she learned that the topic during that day was about livelihood.
“So then, I joined the association”, she happily said.
The association was selected as one of the recipients of the PROACTIVE: Programme on Assistance for Camp Transformation through Inclusion, Violence Prevention and Economic Empowerment.
PROACTIVE is a collaborative programme of the 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).
Through the program, the association of Babu Ina ni Gunda along with other organizations across the six major camps of the MILF will get assistance to prosper, which will be relevant to help them become productive.
Hopeful women in Tawi-Tawi sell native delicacies to help promote and preserve culture in the islandWritten by BDA Communications
(MARCH 6, 2023/ TAWI-TAWI-BARMM). Eddinaira Mercera, 31, is a housewife and a mother of two living in Brgy. Malacca, Panglima Sugala Tawi-Tawi.
Her husband died in 2022 and together with her mother, she struggles to provide for their family by managing a small sari-sari store in their community.
Eddinaira is also working hard to pursue with her education and is hoping to become a teacher one day.
When her husband died, she chose to continue the battle in life.
"I will continue to fight because this is our Qadr (fate). What I am looking right now is my children, because they are all I have and they are my strength," Eddinaira said.
As one active woman in their community, Eddinaira joined the organization of women formed in the village when the SUBATRA-ECSO Project came in 2022.
SUBATRA-ECSO: Enhancing Civil Society Organizations’ Capacities for Inclusive Development Interventions in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition is a project that provides inclusive assistance to vulnerable groups in the communities across BARMM that includes the women and the widows.
At first, Eddinaira was a secretary to the organization and has been elected as president of the group.
The organization has recently undergone skills training from the project wherein hey learned about processing of native delicacies.
"We chose to make native delicacies because we know one day it will be known not only in Tawi-Tawi but in different places”, she remarked.
Eddinaira was in tears and was repeatedly expressing gratitude because the women in their community were given an opportunity to become more productive.
"We are very happy because, through this, women in our village will have more freedom towards progress”, she said.
Meanwhile, Tarhata Haraji from Brgy. Pasiagan in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi is also delighted by the learning acquired from the skills training.
They also learned about preparation of native delicacies that are unique in this island province.
"We want to introduce these native delicacies, especially now that the province of Tawi-Tawi is receiving more tourists where we can sell and generate income helpful for our families”, Tarhata said.
According to her, the process is known to some senior members of the community but they wanted to learn more especially for the young generation to promote and preserve these traditional dishes such as lara-lara (sili-sili), batang buruk, jintan, panyam, panganan, bawlo, hantak/kukus, doughnut-doughnut, jah, tapa-tapa and tok-ki.
Life in Tawi-Tawi is simple, most of the people's occupation is fishing, planting, and harvesting seaweeds is common source of income in the island province of Tawi-Tawi.
Through the SUBATRA-ECSO, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) is hoping to help these communities maximize their potentials by using available resources locally towards social enterprise development.
BDA Inc. is coordinating with BARMM agencies for more support to these local organizations to improve further their operation and become more sustainable.
SUBATRA-ECSO is being funded by the European Union and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.