Twelve Key civil society leaders operating in North Cotabato spearheaded by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) with Integrated Mindanaon Association of Natives (IMAN) conducted an initial brainstorming to jumpstart their plan sustainable accompaniment of the Special Geographical Area headed by its Administrator and Board Member Datu Kelly Antao. The meeting was conducted at IMAN Office in Poblacion Kabacan, North Cotabato on August 27, 2020.

Also in attendance were representatives of the Cluster Coordinator of the municipality of Carmen represented by Akmad Maguid while Cluster Coordinator of the municipality of Kabacan was represented by its Deputy Cluster Coordinator Abusama Lubalang. The two apprised the CSO leaders with their respective programs. Both SGA representatives revealed that their undertakings in compliance to their assigned tasks and functions had been limited to dialogues and consultations to their respective constituencies due to absence of funding for the purpose. They stressed as of date no fund released for their intended plans and programs.

Each of the CSO leaders were given also ample time to present their respective programs and interventions and the challenges in the implementation of the advocacies. Their intervention varies from peacebuilding, governance, social services, community empowerment and other services. However, each of the CSOs is working independently from each other without collaborative and cooperation from each other.

On the other hand all of them reported the existence of armed conflicts both between the state forces and other armed groups. There were also rampant existences of Rido of varying causes by both Moro fronts as well as from private armed groups. In other words, peace and security issues still a dream to come. There is still continuing displacements of substantial number of civilians both within the Bangsamoro territorial jurisdiction and outside. Poverty threshold didn’t change while everywhere there were talks of billions of pesos granted to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Another prevailing problems among the 63 Barangays is the cutting of social services support to them by their respective mother municipalities on contention that the above were already “officially turned over” to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Amidst the above challenges, the CSO leaders motivated to converged their efforts in accompaniment of the Administrative Body or SGA in North Cotabato. As their starting point, a proposed forum for the Barangay Officials of the sixty three (63) Barangays with concerned heads of Ministries and Offices in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. The major problems presented by each Barangay and the corresponding responses from concerned Ministries and Offices will be consolidated and prioritize where the CSO convergence will base their unified interventions in the future.

Initially, IMAN had already started their intervention by means of developing a “Barangay Development Plans” (BDPs) in twenty three (23) Barangays of SGA which CBCS and other CSOs committed to pursue until all the 63 Barangays be able develop their own BDPs.

Emran Baganian
TAP-G Advocacy Officer