BY ASANGAN T. MADALE
BAE NABIHA “NONI” LAO representing the Meranaw woman sectoral group member of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Council for Leaders (BARMM-COL) joins the second leg of the National Anti-Poverty Commission’s (NAPC) Regional Sectoral Assemblies (RSA) held last September 20 to 21 in Davao City. Top Officials said.
In an interview with Lao told the Mindanao Daily News paper that ” I am representing here BARMM WOMEN sector ,namely, Merenaw, Magindanao, Tausogs, IPs, and other tribes , including mohers, lola,ate and Bunsong kapatid.
As a woman representative for BARMM Council for Leaders, I am thankful of joining this NAPC Regional Sectoral Assembly , Mindanao-Wide because I was given the opportunities to discuss specific advocacy agenda pursued by basic sectors and able to identify local sectoral and cross-sector issues, areas of cooperation , and plan of action, Lao emphasize.
Bae Nabiha Noni Lao BARMM Member Council for Elders.
With the presence of around 1,000 community leaders representing the 14 basic sectors in Mindanao convene in four key locations in Davao City, we can now design a building measure intervening various programs that will enhance to suit to the living conditions of our people in their respective regions, Lao added.
Lao have expressed her gratitude to Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim for the continuous support given by the BARMM government to her and other officials in the region, like Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr. We can recall that in the past, we did not have a sectoral representative for women, and it is only now in 2023.
We are really fortunate and honored that I was selected to represent the women all over BARMM, especially the Meranaws and other women tribes in the region.
The RSA aims to serve as the institutionalized regional platform of the basic sectors to democratize decision-making processes in governance; discuss priority sectoral agenda, accomplishments, issues and concerns; and map out the next set of representatives or potential delegates of the NAPC Basic Sectors to different mechanisms such as the National Basic Sectoral Councils (BSC) and the Local Basic Sectors Coordinating Councils (LBSCC).
This year’s three-leg series of RSAs is conducted in preparation for the long-overdue National Sectoral Assembly (NSA) which was supposed to be conducted five years ago in 2018 but was delayed due to several issues including the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sa wakas ay isinasagawa na natin ang mga paghahanda para sa NSA. Itong National and Regional Sectoral Assemblies ay paggampan sa natatanging mandato ng NAPC na kumikilala sa lakas ng batayang sektor sa pamamahala,” NAPC Indigenous Peoples/Indigenous Cultural Communities Sectoral Representative Judith Maranes said.
The Mindanao Island-wide RSA is already the 2nd regional assembly of basic sectors after having a successful conduct of the 1st leg in Cebu City for the Visayas cluster last week.
“Sa pagtitipon gaya nitong RSA ay napapatingkad ang mabibigat na usapin gaya ng pangkapayapaan at pangkaunlaran. Lalong-lalo na dito sa Mindanao, marapat lang na ang mga kinatawan ay mabigyan ng boses at espasyo sa usapin ng pagtugon sa mga batayang pangangailangan at sa pagkamit ng kapayapaan sa kanayunan,” she added.
Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, the National BSC has been resolute in strengthening sectoral representation in Regional Development Councils, forging partnerships with national agencies, local government units, and civil society to ensure people’s active participation in governance.
Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr., NAPC Vice Chairperson for Government Sector, highlights the role of the national government in bridging anti-poverty reduction efforts to communities and the local government.
“In terms of poverty incidence, more provinces in Mindanao need attention. It is deliberate that we decided to hold a regional assembly of basic sectors here in the region because this is where the government should pay more focus on,” he added.
NAPC has seen stronger collaboration with the government and basic sectors by proactively supporting and closely coordinating convergence initiatives and basic sector activities under the leadership of NAPC Secretary Lope Santos III. His administration’s banner call ‘Aksyon Laban sa Kahirapan’ has steered NAPC toward a focused path by putting headline development targets at the center of the government’s anti-poverty agenda and roadmap.
In addition, Gov. Tamayo has already made great strides in pushing the government sector to become more involved in strengthening people’s participation in governance.
“With the 25 national agencies and the four local government leagues under NAPC, our regular technical working group meetings with the basic sectors are our commitment to providing better response and representation to cross-sectoral development issues in poverty alleviation. We will ensure that the outcomes of the RSAs and the NSA will be the foundation of the many policy reforms that we will introduce as we move forward in providing a better life to our fellow Filipinos,” Gov. Tamayo said.
NAPC Children Sectoral Representative Josh Cezar Serilo also looks forward to productive and informative sessions in the assembly. “Since 2018, we have been preparing for the smooth and successful conduct of the RSAs. Seeing that it is now realized, we in the Children Sector hope to see that the basic sectors would be able to paint a clear and accurate picture of what is happening in the grassroots through this event. As the country’s first line of defense in the fight against poverty, it is imperative that we put premium on peace and development in crafting our local poverty reduction action plans to ensure inclusivity, synergy, and harmony amongst the different identified sectoral agenda of the basic sectors,” SR Serilo said.
The 14 basic sectors identified by Republic Act 8425 consist of artisanal fisherfolk, children, cooperatives, farmers and landless rural workers, formal labor and migrant workers, indigenous peoples and cultural communities, non-governmental organizations, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, urban poor, victims of disasters and calamities, women, workers in the informal sector, and youth and students.