2019 was a banner year for the Bangsamoro.
First, a plebliscite was held on January 21 in which the people overwhelmingly ratified the Bangsamoro Organic Law. This ended the 29 years of existence of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
By February, President Rodrigo Duterte swore members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in at Malacanang. This interim government of the Bangsamoro region will serve until the first Bangsamoro elections in 2022.
March 29 marked the inaugural session of the BTA as the region's interim parliament, with no less than President Duterte as its guest of honor during the first session.
Both supporters and critics of the President agreed that the passage of the BOL is one of President Duterte's achievements, the culmination of nearly two decades of peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
As we lay the foundations for a strong Bangsamoro government, we recognize the challenges of governance. The inclusion of other sectors of society in the BTA's decision-making is a must, among other things.
Late last month, the Bangsamoro Parliament passed its first budget for the new region under a block grant. This budget is crucial: The area covered by BARMM's juridiction is considered one of the poorest areas in the Philippines.
We are preparing the ground for the continuity of our self-rule, as well as ensuring the needed funds for this growth. This is the BARMM Parliament working for the sustainability of the regional government, even as we work to plan carefully—and mindfully—for a future of peace and prosperity in our region.
The tasks before us are not easy. Recognizing this and looking squarely at the challenges we face helps us plan and take the proper actions for building an inclusive Bangsamoro Government in every sense of the word.
We face 2020 with both optimism and readiness, keeping our focus on the services our people need for the sustainable progress and development we seek.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.