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Senate, House give full support at first Philippine Congress - Bangsamoro Parliament Forum

MANILA -- The Philippine Congress-Bangsamoro Parliament Forum (PCBPF) held its first meeting today, November 15, at Sofitel, Pasay City to discuss key legislative measures for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The event was led by Inter-Governmental Relations Body (IGRB) co-chairs, Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman and BARMM Minister of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education Mohagher Iqbal.

In her opening remarks, the Budget Chief shared the Administration’s commitment to lasting peace and inclusive growth: “This is why on our end, following the President’s Agenda for Prosperity, we will do all that we can and endeavor to convene all mechanisms to support the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and ensure the success of BARMM.”

Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri and Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez gave the full support of Congress and lauded the IGRB for its efforts to finally convene the PCBPF.

Also present were PCBPF members Senators Loren Legarda and Robinhood Padilla, House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe, House Committee on Ways and Means Chair Joey Salceda, Representatives Rex Gatchalian, Yasser Alonto Balindong, and Maximo Y. Dalog, Jr. for the Philippine Congress; and Chief Minister Ahod Ebrajim Al Haj, Speaker Pangalian M. Balindong, deputy speakers, deputy leaders, and parliament members of the BARMM.

Among the legislative issues and concerns discussed by the coordinating body were the laws enacted on the upgrading of hospitals within BARMM; possible extension of the application period for amnesty of MILF and MNLF members; qualification of Shari’ah circuit court judges; enactment of remaining priority codes of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, as well as ways forward for the continued cooperation of the Philippine Congress and the Bangsamoro Parliament. In line with these, the PCPBF agreed to establish Technical Working Groups that will study the feasibility of addressing such.

Minister Iqbal said that what the PCBPF has achieved would be an important blueprint, especially as BARMM is undergoing transition. Meanwhile, Speaker Balindong affirmed that the forum “will put into fruition the many initiatives endeavored to be put into motion.”

Finally, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) Secretary Carlito Galvez delivered the closing remarks: “Now, that we have formally launched this forum, I believe this will be the beginning of a strong, inclusive, and productive partnership between the Philippine Congress and the Bangsamoro Parliament in uplifting the lives of our Bangsamoro people.” (DBM) 

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