PARTNERS. European Union Ambassador Luc Véron speaks during the launch of the five-year PHP1.5-billion Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA) Programme in Cotabato City on Monday (Nov. 15, 2021). A delegation from the EU (inset) joined the Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao officials during the event inside the BARMM government center in the city. (Photo courtesy of DXMS-Cotabato)

COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has found a strong ally in the European Union (EU) in terms of strengthening the region’s governance through the five-year PHP1.5-billion Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA) Program.

“(The) SUBATRA helps boost the capacity of our regional government in crafting transitional policies and strengthening our parliament’s ability to exercise its legislative, oversight, and representation functions during this transition period,” BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim said in a statement Tuesday.

The program, launched on Monday afternoon at the BARMM government center here, intends to help BARMM lay the foundation for lasting peace and development by strengthening its institutions' democratic governance capacities during the transition period.

It is co-funded by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development that started in July 2020 and will run until June 2025.

With support from SUBATRA, the BARMM executive, the parliament, judiciary, and civil society, will bolster capacities to drive and coordinate key transitional policies, exercise lawmaking, and oversight functions, adjudicate litigations, improve access to justice, and contribute to a peaceful transition of the region.

The BARMM transition period includes the passage of priority legislation and the setting up of a firm BARMM system of government to ensure uninterrupted delivery of basic services.

“In short, the SUBATRA helps the young regional government provide regulatory standards while taking a facilitative and risk-proportionate approach in all levels of its new bureaucracy,” Ebrahim said.

Meanwhile, EU Ambassador Luc Véron reaffirmed their commitment to support and sustain the gains of the Mindanao peace process.

“With the help of the SUBATRA Program, the BARMM will establish an autonomous regional government that will address the many forms of injustices in the region over the years,” Veron said.

The envoy noted that the Bangsamoro transition period is a timely opportunity for stakeholders in the BARMM to heed the lessons of the past and journey towards a bright future for the region, “leaving no one behind.”

Through partner civil society organizations, the EU is also working on coronavirus disease 2019 information campaigns, which include the promotion of advocacy materials to inform communities on how to prevent spreading the virus and cope with the pandemic.

The United Nations Office for Project Services, the Bangsamoro Development Agency, and the Consortium of the Bangsamoro Civil Society are the implementing partners of the program. (PNA)