Roundtable Discussion on the BARMM Monitor Mechanism

Decades since the Moro people began the struggle for their right to self-determination, a piece of legislation that institutionalized their peace agreement with the government of the Philippines, the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), has been ratified. The establishment of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is a huge victory for the Moro people and for all Filipinos. Realizing the dreams and aspirations of the peace agreement is expected to be a daunting task, especially in ensuring that the BARMM governance under BOL will deliver prosperity and justice.

Inefficiencies and corruption in government will be a major hurdle in the success of BARMM. Numerous literature has shown that corruption, poverty and violence are intertwined. This therefore points to the need to combine peace-building work with anticorruption efforts. While the BOL (specifically Article XII, Section 2) provides the general accountability framework that will govern BARMM, this needs to be enabled and operationalized. Enabling collective action of citizens to help stop corruption in government is an accountability effort that will support BARMM’s quest for enduring peace and sustainable development.

After conducting various consultations on the ground and reviewing related experience and studies, Government Watch (G-Watch), along with Generation Peace (GenPeace) Network and Grassroots Initiative to Uphold Accountability in Development (GIHAD), proposes the setting up of a multi-level, multi-sectoral government-citizen monitoring of key government programs and services in BARMM to contribute in the strengthening of accountability in BARMM governance.

Government Watch (G-Watch) is formerly a social accountability program of a university founded in 2000 that has rebooted into an independent national network of citizen action for accountability that aims to contribute in the deepening of democracy through political reform and citizen empowerment. Generation Peace Network (GenPeace) is a network of organizations and individuals engaging for a youth-led advocacy towards a just and sustainable peace in the Philippines. Grassroots Initiative to Uphold Accountability in Development (GIHAD) is a new grassroots formation consisting of Moro young leaders who G-Watch has worked with in conceptualizing and putting together this proposal and who are keen in advancing transparency, participation and accountability in BARMM. 

The proposed BARMM Citizen-Government Monitoring System, tentatively referred to as BARMM Monitor, is envisioned as a multi-sectoral, multi-level monitoring mechanism that shall monitor critical programs and services of the national, regional and local governments, including those funded from Official Development Assistance (ODA), to improve the responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, as well as to avoid corruption and abuse, in the implementation of government programs and services in BARMM. It shall involve community-level monitoring that can be led by communities of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) with former MILF fighters as monitors, with mechanisms for coordination, reporting, problem-solving and response at municipal/ city, provincial and regional levels based on evidence and findings generated from the ground-up.

The BARMM Monitor mechanism is aimed as a core accountability program of the BARMM parliament in collaboration with other sectors and local governments. Part of the institutionalization efforts at the end of the project involves setting up of official appropriation for the BARMM Monitor mechanism. For the Pilot Phase, it is ideal that the funding is co-sourced between and among BARMM BTA, development partners and proponents. The Pilot Phase will involve setting-up of the mechanism, including the passage of necessary policy documents needed for its operation, while a sample monitoring initiative covering one or two programs is being undertaken. The program/s to be covered in the pilot monitoring shall be jointly identified by the Proponents and representatives of the BTA, in consultation with other local stakeholders.

Last October, a concept note on the proposed BARMM Monitor Mechanism was submitted to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA)‪. On February 1, 2020 (Saturday) at Al Nor Hotel and Convention Center, Cotabato City, the proponents of the BARMM Monitor proposal shall be holding a roundtable discussion to present our proposal in full, generate further comments and suggestions from target allies and explore partnerships moving forward. ‬The proponents will also be holding meetings and fora to discuss the proposal to BTA members and officers and prospective partners and supporters in the coming weeks. 

We would like to hear from the people of Bangsamoro and fellow advocates for peace, development and good governance in BARMM on our proposal! See here for a copy of the concept note,

For questions and/ or comments on the concept note and/ or how you can participate and help in efforts to advance this proposal, you may contact G-Watch through the details indicated on the webpage.