BARMM inter-govt body holds 1st meeting

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    DAVAO CITY. – The first meeting of the national government and Bangsamoro government intergovernmental relations body (IGRB) is a major step forward in realizing a substantial and functional autonomy for a new autonomous Muslim region, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

    Carlos Dominguez, DOF secretary, and other key Cabinet officials, along with representatives of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), met here Monday to thresh out the terms of reference of the newly formed national government-Bangsamoro government IGRB and other concerns related to the new Bangsamoro region.

    The IGRB is mandated to coordinate and resolve issues on intergovernmental relations through regular consultations and continuing non-adversarial negotiations, Dominguez said.

    It also allows a mechanism for benchmarking the standards of good governance for all government agencies and BARMM ministries, he added.

    Dominguez said the creation of the IGRB is a historic initiative that is closely observed by concerned countries across the globe, as he expressed confidence “that there is enough reserve of goodwill” among the two sides to ensure the success of the body.

    “Through this intergovernmental relations body, we hope to achieve informed and constructive discussions aimed at exploring the best plausible solutions to transform points of differences into points of cooperation between the national government and Bangsamoro government,” Dominguez said in his opening remarks at the meeting held at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao.

    “I am confident that we will be able to thresh out the protocols and procedures as we go along. What is important is that we commence with the work of this vital institutional mechanism as well as move forward with the consolidation of all the institutions of regional autonomy,” he added.

    The IGRB is co-chaired by Dominguez and minister Mohagher Iqbal of the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education.

    Dominguez said the IGRB will ensure that policies and programs are service-oriented, people-centric and transformative to bring tangible benefits and real change to the lives of the people in this region.

    He added the IGRB provides an institutional mechanism for sustained cooperation and coordination between the agencies established by the BARMM and those of the national government.

    The IGRB was proposed during the negotiations for a comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro.