Provincial Governments of ARMM Island Provinces clamour for more dialogue and discussion on the evolving concept of autonomy

Written by Pro Politics for Peace.

On April 7, 8, and 9, 2015, the Pro PolitiCS for Peace Project Coordinating Team (PCT) visited the Provincial Governments of Sulu and Tawi-tawi and the City Government of Zamboanga.

The Governors told the PCT that as far as the BBL is concerned, the consultations made were not enough and they still need to be consulted so that their proposals will also be heard.

They cannot say unequivocally therefore that they support – or do not support – the BBL. They assured however that they are supportive of the peace process at large. For the BBL, there are still some things they need to be clarified about. For instance: What will be the position and participation of the Provincial Government inside the Bangsamoro? And, what is the participation of the LGUs inside the Bangsamoro?

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Similar opinion was expressed by the Basilan Governor when the PCT met with him in Manila during a courtesy visit.

In Sulu, the PCT also visited the Area Coordinating Center (ACC), a mechanism set up by the Provincial Governmentto coordinate all social development activities and programs. These include peace and order, economic development, disaster response and other new programs. This is where the Provincial Peace and Order Council are also lodged. This is a mechanism unique to the Province of Sulu.

On April 8, 2015, the PCT visited Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle 'Beng' Climaco-Salazar to coordinate an upcoming forum of LGUs, which will be conducted in the city. Mayor Beng was saying that although the forum is basically for the island provinces of ARMM, the event should be coordinated with the City Government so that they can also prepare and secure the venue.

On April 9, 2015, the team visited MSU Tawi-tawi Chancellor Atty. Lorenzo Reyes. Among other things, it was agreed that IAG will regularly send copies of its publications to MSU Tawi-tawi library and Graduate School. These publications will help provide inputs on politics and governance to their political science and public administration students.

In all these visits, Provincial Governors Jum Akbar, Nurbert Sahali and Vice-Governor Abdusakur Tan, Jr. expressed support to Pro PolitiCS for Peace, saying that the Project is very timely because it will create the arena where provincial governments and local government units can engage with national personalities and lawmaking bodies in a discussion and conversation on the evolving issue of autonomy within the larger frame of the peace process. 

The Pro PolitiCS for Peace Project led by IAG with PCID, LOGODEF, and ZABIDA will embark on a series of discussions on the evolving concept of autonomy starting with the launching activities and forum in Zamboanga City on April 29, 2015.

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