Plans during Bangsamoro transition ready

The government gives utmost importance to the protection of rights and the welfare of civil servants in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and systems have been put in place to ensure these rights would be protected when the Bangsamoro is established, says the Coordination Team for the Transition (CT4T) from the ARMM to the Bangsamoro.

The CT4T issued the assurance following the release of a statement from Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government, saying “the new government under the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region should give preference to displaced workers of the ARMM in hiring new civil servants.”

In his statement, Senator Marcos said among those the new Bangsamoro should give priority are public school teachers who comprise majority of the 30,000 civil servants in the ARMM.

In fact, the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) negotiating panels and ARMM executive officers activated the CT4T in November last year to facilitate the generation and sharing of necessary information related to the transition such as the inventory of personnel, programs, properties, assets, and receivables, said Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo, who sits in the CT4T.

The CT4T is the primary mechanism to facilitate a smooth transition leading to the installation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which will bridge the period between the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro and the elections for the Bangsamoro parliament.

“We ensure that the welfare of the ARMM employees will not be shelved during the transition period from ARMM to the Bangsamoro,” said Montalbo, who is joined in the CT4T by ARMM Executive Secretary Atty. Laisa Masuhud Alamia and one other OPAPP and ARMM representative each, and another five from the MILF.

“We have a blueprint on what will happen to our ARMM employees as early as now, and that includes plans for the thousands of public teachers in the autonomous region. The plan was crafted by the CT4T with the help of other concerned agencies such as the ARMM, Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM),” Montalbo explained.

According to the original version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), as well as the House and Senate version known as the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR), the BTA will be established upon the ratification of the law leading to the first Bangsamoro parliamentary election in May 2016.

“Proponents of the Bangsamoro peace process had the foresight to establish the CT4T because they understand that it is crucial for the Bangsamoro government to hit the ground running once it is established,” Usec. Montalbo said.

Moreover, everything will be done in accordance with the law in government reorganization, as far as benefits and processes for those who might be adversely affected, Montalbo added.

Members of the CT4T, including the representatives of the MILF, recognize the social, development and political cost of a massive displacement of existing ARMM employees once the Bangsamoro Government replaces the existing ARMM.

“We need to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible in the delivery of basic services, especially education and health, during the transition period,” Montalbo added.

“In addition, we need to recognize that many of the competencies required to run the new Bangsamoro Government already reside in many of the ARMM employees, and to replace them wholesale will not make sense. Any changes in personnel will consider protecting the security of tenure of ARMM employees, guarantee continued and improved delivery of services, and fairness and transparency in all processes involving these employees in ARMM,” said Montalbo.

The proposed BBL contains a repealing clause that will deem the ARMM and all of its offices abolished once the law has been ratified.

The Senate is expected to finally conduct its first day of deliberations on the basic law on Monday, August 24. (PNA)

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