By Ali G. Macabalang
Chief of Correspondents
COTABATO CITY – On Monday’s delivery of President Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), Regional Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim and Bangsamoro Transition Authority’s (BTA) Parliament Speaker Ali Pangalian Balindong revisited the significant strides of the regional government in its first year of operations.
Inside sources said officials of the Bangsamoro government were expecting that the President would mention in his SONA even a few lines about the state of government efforts for the reconstruction and recovery of war-torn Marawi City, a component of the autonomous region.
But the expectation did not happen, prompting Maranao personalities speaking for the displaced Marawi residents to hold a State of Marawi Bakwit (SOMBAK) on Wednesday.
The IDPs, represented by leaders of multi-sector organizations of Marawi including Drieza Lininding, Samira Gutoc and Tirmizy Abdullah, presented a response, a challenge, and an appeal in to the Duterte administration vis-à-vis the snail-paced rebuilding of Marawi and the difficulties among IDPs still scattered outside the war-torn city.
“Three years after the Marawi siege, the lives of Marawi’s people remain in limbo. About 17,000 remain in temporary shelters, while 80,000 are displaced in different parts of the country, staying with relatives and host families. COVID-19 has further exposed the vulnerabilities of Marawi’s residents and IDPs,” the SOMBAK organizers said in a post.
They said the SOMBAK 2020 would tackled issues about the expiration of tenure; the status and sentiments of IDPs; economic aspects of the rehabilitation process; and the added burdens and dangers brought by COVID.
On SONA day, Chief Minister Ebrahim and Speaker Balindong were interviewed by workers of the Bureau of Pubic Information in live stream co-arranged by the Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM).
Ebrahim said the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will remain as one of President Duterte’s significant legacy.
Since the inauguration of the BARMM in March 2019, it has established its call for “moral governance” and has created programs like the Project Tulong Alay sa Bangsamorong Nangangailangan (TABANG), Ayudang Medikal Mula sa Bangsamoro (AMBAG) Program, and Bangsamoro Job Portal, among others, for the benefit of its constituents, he said.
“We pray that the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region will continue to succeed for the benefit of the people,” he added.
Balindong, on the one hand, noted the importance of the BOL for the Bangsamoro people and that the recognition of the Bangsamoro people’s aspirations was unprecedented.
The BTA parliament, through its Committee on Rule, currently deliberates on the just-filed regional Administrative Code, Local Government Code, and the Civil Service Code.
Balindong said the parliament has already enacted laws that are “consistent with the national laws,” Balindong noted.“There are other legislations that we’ve lined up and hopefully, this will be done within the year, including the six priority legislations stated in the Bangsamoro Organic Law.” (AGM)