Led by the Office of the Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), EAI Philippines along with 43 Civil Society Organizations’ (CSOs) representatives within and outside BARRM were enjoined for a dialogue on inclusive moral governance last January 29, 2021 in Cotabato City.
Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod “Al-Haj Murad” Ebrahim personally discussed with CSO representatives and stakeholders in the first edition of ‘Mushawarah’ (Arabic term for consultation). The concept of BARRM’s Mushawarah is built on the concept of ‘a practice originating from the early days of Islam which aims to arrive in a consensus on matters of spiritual and societal importance.’
The BARMM government sees the importance of acknowledging and communicating the situation on the ground and at the grassroots level through the consultation process with CSOs and local stakeholders.
Present societal concerns and issues surfaced during the consultation event. These include ‘institutional services on education, health and nutrition, social protection on vulnerable sectors, the peace process and its political relation, and socio-economic programs, among others’.
In the workshops leading to the Mushawarah proper, EAI Philippines represented by Tommy Pangcoga, Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Manager, suggested that the BARMM formulate a program on preventing and transforming violent extremism (PTVE) that is holistic, cognizant of Mindanao’s history of conflict, and that is hinged on the concept and praxis of peacebuilding and non-violence.
Pangcoga further proposed the development of a program creation of a “one-stop platform” where the CSOs can be engaged by the BARMM and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) parliament in consultation, in technical support, in public-private partnerships, in community awareness raising and in community-based capability-building.
During the course of the discussion, key concerns raised were provided with corresponding mechanisms needed for its institutionalization and full implementation.
The Office of the Chief Minister looks forward for another meaningful consultation in the future, coming from the first successful Mushawarah session, as a way ‘to recognize the vitality of heeding the voices and interests of the people, in the pursuit of long-lasting peace and sustainable development in the conflict-ridden Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)’.