MANILA, Philippines – Almost 9 months after the inauguration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), members of the critical Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB) met for the first time in Davao City.
The meeting was held on Tuesday, December 16, at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City, according to a Department of Finance (DOF) press release.
The IGRB is created by the Bangsamoro Organic Law as a venue for the new Bangsamoro government and national government to "coordinate and resolve issues on intergovernmental relations through regular consultation and continuing negotiation in a non-adversarial manner." (READ: Can't afford to fail: Bangsamoro region weathers birth pains)
The IGRB is co-chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, representing the government side, and Bangsamoro Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal, representing the BARMM.
Below is the composition of the IGRB.
Galvez' offices, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, was designated as the IGRB secretariat.
Many Bangsamoro advocates had called on Duterte to immediately form the IGRB given its important role in ensuring a smooth transition from the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to BARMM and in minimizing misunderstandings between the national government and the new regional government.
Back in July, Bangsamoro Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim had already chosen BARMM's representatives to the IGRB. Duterte, however, had not yet named the national government's representatives.
Robert Maulana Marohombsar Alonto, a member of the now-defunct Bangsamoro Transition Commission, had said an IGRB is "indispensable" in preventing a "collision course" between the BARMM and the national government.
Bangsamoro Parliament member Don Loong had previously told Rappler that the lack of an IGRB in the past months led to confusion and some tension.
Despite the long wait, Dominguez was full of optimism about the IGRB at their first meeting.
“I am confident that we will be able to thresh out the protocols and procedures as we go along. What is important is that we commence with the work of this vital institutional mechanism as well as move forward with the consolidation of all the institutions of regional autonomy,” Dominguez said, as quoted in the DOF press release. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.