PRLS, in collaboration with MILG, conducts Virtual Talk in honor of the 3rd Bangsamoro Foundation Day

In commemoration of the 3rd Bangsamoro Foundation Day, the BARMM Parliament’s Policy Research and  Legal Services (PRLS), in partnership with the Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG) will be conducting a series of talks on “Moral Governance on BARMM’s Fiscal and Local Autonomy,” on January 19, 2022, 8:00 A.M.

Below are the abstracts and bio-notes of the speakers:

  • Nassef Manabilang Adiong, PhD – With more than 50 academic publications, 25 academic grants, 21 awards (UP Scientist, Bangsamoro Parliament’s commendation, UP Centennial Professorial Chair, PUP Professorial Chair, The Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines, among others), 14 scholarships, 6 fellowships, 6 consultancies, and numerous researches, Dr Nassef Manabilang Adiong is quite befitting in his current role as the Director of the Bangsamoro Parliament’s Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS). Shepherding towards reforms in the political economy of world’s knowledge systems conveniently lenient to Western canons, he founded three research organizations, five book series, and one scholarly journal to provide impetus to marginalized plurality of intellectual voices. His recognition extends beyond the Philippine soil as he was elected as member-at-large officer at ISA Asia-Pacific Region in 2021, governing board officer at the World International Studies Committee in 2020, and Asia representative at the ISA Global South Caucus in 2018. For details, proceed to

Topic: A talk on Moral Governance

Abstract: Governance has been at the fulcrum of the Bangsamoro’s leadership. Whether it has been—or can yet be—good or moral governance is the question at hand. The discussion of good governance precedes that of moral governance in this article, with the former describing a modern-secular form of good governance as defined by international and multilateral organizations, while the latter propounds the idea of an Islamic-rooted moral governance. The new BARMM autonomous government is the opportunity for the Bangsamoro people to chart up their future in accordance with their distinct beliefs, culture, and aspirations, a shift from the struggle into fighting against oppression, corruption, discrimination, and other malpractices that are worsening the situation of the Bangsamoro people. Its leadership is determined to lead and manage the Moro society based on “moral governance.” However, it is difficult to understand what moral governance means. By using an exploratory design to frame research as inquiry and gain insights on moral governance as the BARMM’s agendum, the research navigated and conceptualized the meaning of moral governance based on a proposed framework that constitutes five immutable principles: Faith, Freedom, Moral Authority, Common Good, and Social Ethics. By constituting these interrelated principles that will map the framework towards practice, within the distinct historical and faith context of Muslim Philippines, an authentic Bangsamoro leadership is envisaged as a tolerant society to various Muslim groups and non-Muslim communities—Christians and Indigenous Peoples in particular. Consequently, the juxtaposed comparison of the ARMM and the BARMM will, in effect, highlight the tasks that were not successfully or satisfactorily implemented by the ARMM. These are areas where the BARMM can build its introductory steps to come up to the challenges of moral governance.

  • Atty. Sha Elijah B. Dumama-Alba – She is the Bangsamoro Attorney General of the BARMM. She is co-Head of the Joint Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Relations Body. She took up BA in Public Administration at UP Diliman and finished her Law degree at San Beda Mendiola in 2007. She was admitted to the Philippine Bar in 2008. Atty. Alba is an Asia Foundation Development Fellow alumna. She was part of the 2019 Obama Leaders Class in Asia and Tatler Asia’s Gen.T List 2020 Leaders of Tomorrow. She is also an Asia Peace Innovators Fellow 2020. She placed 3rd in the Special Shariah Bar Examinations in 2018. She served as Deputy Executive Director of the  Bangsamoro Transition Commission, and Attorney VI of the Civil Service Commission – ARMM before being appointed Attorney General in 2019.

Topic: The Intergovernmental Relations Between the National and the Bangsamoro Government

Abstract: Intergovernmental relations (IGR) are critical for the effective and efficient service delivery by governments, as an important component of any political system with more than one level of government. The IGRB is a mechanism created for the national government and the Bangsamoro Government (BG) to coordinate and resolve issues on intergovernmental relations through regular consultation and continuing negotiation in a non-adversarial manner. With powers granted to the BG under the Bangsamoro Organic Law, discussions on the exercise of these powers by the BG are undertaken at the IGRB level. BARMM ministries and their counterpart national agencies directly engage with each other to cooperate and coordinate on matters that involve simultaneous exercise of these powers. In an effort to lay the foundation for IGR in the Bangsamoro context, the Bangsamoro Administrative Code outlines the principles of cooperative government and IGR, namely: (a) Observing mutual respect between the different levels of government; (b) Maintaining an ethos of interdependence; and (c) Providing a platform for civic participation. How these principles are gradually being established towards marshalling coordinated service delivery of governments is an ongoing endeavor that makes IGR not an end by itself, but a means to democratize institutions, address imbalance, and extend services to all.

  • Mr. Vincent Casil, MA – He is the Officer-in-Charge/Chief of the Legislative Research Division under the Bangsamoro Parliament’s Policy Research and Legal Services. He is a China-ASEAN University Network’s Ph.D. scholar at Guangxi University, China, and a doctoral student in Philippine Studies at the University of the Philippines. His works explore the questions of political economy and its intersection with the development of democracy in the Bangsamoro region. As an academic, He has taught at Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle–College of St. Benilde, Lyceum of the Philippines University, and Philippine Christian University, and has supervised policy-related studies with the City of Malabon. His recent publication is on Merit-based Recruitment: Exploration of the Concept of Merit in the Bangsamoro (2021), where he enriched the notion of merit-based hiring in view of the principles of faith, freedom, moral authority, common good, and social ethics.

Topic: Devolution and the Bangsamoro: its Issues and Challenges

Abstract: The Mandanas-Garcia Supreme court ruling implies that greater resources shall be given to Local Government Units (LGUs). As a result, larger political roles are seen in the LGUs, which may be in need to be clarified to smoothen its relation with the National Government. Such a task of devolving political functions in LGUs is further made difficult in the Bangsamoro context, as the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which established BARMM as a political unit, lacks clear articulation on how these powers will be decentralized to region’s LGUs, which are still operating under 1991 Local Government Code. Noting the issue, the paper further highlights other critical problems latent in the process of devolution by surveying significant experiences of governments of other countries that have shared the same experience where its national government has devolved some of its power to its local units. From this comprehensive grasp of critical issues of devolution, BARMM could draw key lessons and concepts that could be used to craft a sound framework to materialize the Mandanas-Garcia ruling in the region. 

  • Atty. Hisham Nazz Ala Biruar, CPA – Prior to his appointment as the Head of the Legislative Measures and Legal Assistance Division of the Bangsamoro Parliament, Atty. Hisham Nazz Ala Biruar, CPA served as a Chief of Staff of one of the Parliament Members. A Dean’s Lister in his college and graduate studies, Sham is a Graduating Class President and a holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy from Notre Dame University, and a proud product of the Juris Doctor Degree Program of the Ateneo de Davao University as a third-ranked graduate of the Ateneo Law Class of 2018. Outside government service, he is a Finance and Legal Consultant, a Notary Public, and an active member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Cotabato Chapter, having been duly elected as its Treasurer from 2021 to 2023.

Topic: Mandanas-Garcia Ruling’s Inference to BARMM

Abstract: In 1991, when Republic Act No. 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991 was enacted, there was a consensus among local government units (LGUs) that responsibilities and services were devolved but resources remained largely with national government. Nearly three decades after, the promulgation by the Supreme Court of its landmark decision on the Mandanas case on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) encapsulates the lengthy and complex efforts of LGUs and other stakeholders in demanding greater autonomy and resources from the national government. With the shift of power and responsibility, LGUs are now in the position to chart the destiny of their people and communities.

This talk will tackle the possible challenges in the implementation of the Mandanas ruling particularly in BARMM given that the Bangsamoro Government is still in a period of transition and is in the process of crafting its own local government code.

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