Bangsamoro Government Center, Cotabato City (PNA File photo)

UN, BARMM enhance social protection in Bangsamoro

Cotabato City – A social protection program being implemented by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is being enhanced to strengthen social protection in the region, Philippine News Agency said in its report, October 13.
Under the program, the BARMM and FAO-U.N. will provide technical support to the development of a system for identifying the most vulnerable and at-risk population.
The Joint Programme on Shock-Responsive Social Protection (JPSRSP) builds on social protection programs implemented by the BARMM to ease poverty in the region.
Launched in 2020, the JPSRSP addresses the risks and vulnerabilities that the Bangsamoro people, especially the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalized, face in times of natural and human-induced disasters that perpetuate the cycle of poverty, the PNA report said.

BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim in a news release on Wednesday said that, “This is the essence of a ‘risk-informed shock responsive social protection system’ which the BARMM is reinforcing in partnership with UN agencies,” said Gustavo Gonzalez, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines”.
“The JPSRSP enhances BARMM’s existing social protection systems to better target and deliver assistance before and immediately after a crisis becomes a full blown disaster,” he added.

The JPSRSP focuses on three key interventions, which include mainstreaming risk-informed shock responsive social protection in the Bangsamoro Development Plan (BRDP); building capacity of BARMM institutions to analyze and monitor both natural and human-induced risks and improve synergy; and improving the poverty registry system to include risk and hazard vulnerability assessments, predictive analytics, inclusive targeting and effective monitoring.”

One year since it started, the JP worked with the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) which was then starting to lay down the design of its own poverty and disaster registry.

MSSD is designing the registry to provide more comprehensive information about the situation of households and considers the context of the BARMM region. UNICEF provided technical support on the poverty registry instruments and management information systems.

Vulnerability Risk Assessment and Mapping (VRAM) is being undertaken to map out the vulnerabilities of BARMM communities and to identify the types of risks and how these risks affect the welfare of the marginalized population and their livelihoods.

FAO, in partnership with the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) and the Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), will survey 1,680 households across BARMM, including the Special Geographic Areas.

The overlay of this information allows BARMM to design risk-informed and shock responsive social protection that is well-targeted and relevant to the different contexts of the region.

In addition, together with the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA), FAO reviewed the Bangsamoro Investment Development Plan to provide a training platform for key Ministries in making and implementing relevant policies.

In addition, the JPSRSP complemented the government’s Covid-19 response by providing emergency cash transfers to 1,800 poor families who were excluded from Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

The joint program’s innovations have generated interest from development partners to scale up and sustain its gains.

The Australian government is providing additional resources to upscale this joint program to build on and expand the work, particularly in enhancing BARMM’s cash delivery systems, by supporting relevant initiatives on cash transfer beneficiary database management systems and providing emergency cash transfers, PNA report added.

The scaling up also allows for more engagement in other forms of social protection, beyond cash transfers that are compatible with BARMM’s social protection landscape, such as agriculture and asset insurance, PNA also said in its report.