BILL SUPPORT. Minister Mohagher Iqbal, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) member of parliament (MP), expressed his desire to co-sponsor a bill filed by a colleague, MP Maisara Dandamun-Latiph (inset), which seeks to create an office for Muslims outside BARMM during the parliament session on Thursday (Oct. 17, 2019). The bill seeks to provide an assistance office to enhance the economic, social, and cultural development of Bangsamoro people living outside the main BARMM area in Mindanao. (Photo courtesy of BARMM Parliament)

BARMM MP Damdamun-Latiph files bill creating office for Muslims outside region

SULTAN KUDARAT, MAGUINDANAO (October 19, 2019) - A lawyer-member of parliament Maisara Damdamun-Latiph of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has filed a bill seeking to create a regional office that will address the needs of Bangsamoro communities outside the territory, said a report by Philippine News Agency on October 19.

Members of Parliament Mohagher M. Iqbal, also Minister of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education, and Dr. Safrullah Dipatuan of the Ministry of Health, also agreed to co-author the bill. 

Latiph told reporters that, “The assistance to the Bangsamoro communities outside BARMM should not be optional.”

The budget of the proposed office shall come from the annual PhP 70Million Block Grant allocated by the national government to the BARMM based on RA No. 11054 or Bangsamoro Organic Law passed by congress in August 2018, Latiph said.

She filed BTA-Parliament Bill No. 15 titled “An Act Creating the Office of the Bangsamoro Communities Outside Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BCOBAR) Defining its Powers, Functions, and Responsibilities and Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes.”

The proposed bill seeks to give life to Article VI, Section 12 of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which urges the Bangsamoro government to enhance the economic, social, and cultural development of Bangsamoro people living outside the main BARMM dominion in Mindanao.

Latiph said the budget for the creation of such office will be taken from the PHP70-billion block grant to the Bangsamoro government in 2020.

At least two million Muslims are living outside the BARMM, based on the population census in 2015. The region has a 3.7 million population based on the 2015 census