Mental Health and Psychological Support Services (MHPSS) Awareness Session for BTA Employees

On March 15, 2023, PRLS actively participated in the “Mental Health and Psychological Support Services (MHPSS) Awareness Session” held at Pavilion Hall, Pagana Kutawato, Cotabato City. The event was specifically organized to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and psychological support services (MHPSS) for the employees of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

Resource Speaker Ms. Sarah Jane De Ocampo, MAPD, an expert in mental health and psychological support services, served as the resource person for the session. During the session, Ms. De Ocampo covered various topics related to mental health, including the Basic Concept of Mental Support, the impact of disasters and emergencies on mental health and well-being, Psychological First Aid (PFA), and Understanding of Stress; Different aspects of stress and its signs.

Mental health is a crucial component of overall health and well-being, and it impacts our emotional, psychological, and social aspects of life. By raising awareness about mental health and providing valuable insights and tools to manage mental health and well-being, the event aimed to promote a healthy and productive work environment for BTA employees.

Overall, the event was successful in achieving its goals and providing employees with the necessary resources to improve their mental health and well-being.

Bangsamoro Budget Forum for Fiscal Year 2024

On the 14th of March 2023, the Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS) took part in the Bangsamoro Budget Forum for Fiscal Year 2024, organized by the BARMM’s Ministry of Finance, and Budget and Management (MFBM). The event was held at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex (SKCC) located in the Bangsamoro Government Center, Cotabato City. 

Hon. Ubaida C. Pacasem, MFBM Minister and Member of the Parliament presided over the forum and presented the key features of the Budget Call for Fiscal Year 2024. The forum also provided an opportunity for attendees to engage in productive conversations and ask pressing questions.

The forum was meticulously organized, with personnel from MFBM’s Bangsamoro Budget Office (BBO) presenting a comprehensive overview of the Fiscal Budget Calendar. The information shared was deemed essential for attendees as they prepared their budget proposal for the upcoming year.

Representatives from various BARMM Ministries, offices, agencies, and other stakeholders graced the forum. The diversity of attendees showcased the significance of collaborative decision-making when it comes to budgetary matters of BARMM.

PRLS’ participation in the forum was critical, as it allowed the department to stay informed about the most recent budgetary developments and work together with other government agencies and stakeholders.

PRLS celebrates the World Hijab Day

PRLS supports and joins in the celebration of World Hijab Day on February 1, honoring the millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab.

The theme of this year’s celebration in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region is “Progression, Not Oppression,” emphasizing the message that hijab-wearing is a symbol of progression and empowerment, not oppression. The Bangsamoro Women Commission will lead the celebration with the hashtag #UnapologeticHijabi.

LMLAD Division Chief Atty. Hisham Ala Biruar, CPA, served as the speaker in Bangsamoro Ngayon Teleradyo last October 6, 2022.

Atty. Biruar noted that for the transition, the current Parliament has no majority and minority floor leaders since all the MPs unanimously voted for MP Pangalian M. Balindong as the Speaker.

He also emphasized the duties of newly appointed BTA officers. According to Atty. Biruar, MPs have three primary functions: Legislation, Representation, and Oversight. MPs should represent their constituents. They should also check the Ministries and Bangsamoro Offices to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed in the Parliament.

Among these three, the primary role of MPs is legislation. MPs are tasked to pass bills and resolutions to address the institutional, political, social, and economic needs within the Bangsamoro region.

Lastly, Atty. Biruar stressed the mandates and functions of the Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS) and its Divisions. He distinguished that while the Legislative Research Division (LRD) is mandated to do research needed for bills and resolutions, LMLAD ensures that bills and resolutions are consistent with the national and regional laws; the Division also addresses any legal concerns that affect the parliament, such as legal assistance and queries. 

| via Madani Sultan

PRLS conducts two-day STATA software workshop

The Legislative Research Division of the Bangsamoro Parliament Policy Research and Legal Services organized a two-day workshop on October 26-27 2022 to train technical staff members on the use of STATA software. 

LRD Division Chief Vincent L. Casil said that the use of STATA in the office is very much needed for efficient data analysis considering the amount and type of data the PRLS is gathering for policy analysis.

“Since not all PRLS staff are familiar with the software, training is crucial to effective software learning,” he emphasized.

Ms. Kerry Joana Ong, a graduate of BS Statistics at the University of the Philippines Los Banos Campus, served as the resource speaker in the workshop. The primary objective of the training was to familiarize the PRLS staff with the basic operations and commands of the STATA software as well as to improve the data analysis skills of the PRLS staff.

| via MC Erschad D. Pabillan, LRD

PRLS LMLAD provides lecture on bill drafting to the Bangsamoro Women Commission

In support of the Bangsamoro Women Commission’s (BWC) crafting of gender-related policies, the Legislative Measures and Legal Assistance Division (LMLAD) of the Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS) served as resource persons and mentors during the “Seminar-Workshop Translating Policy Research on Gender and Development (GAD) into Legislative Measures,” held in Iligan City on October 12–14, 2022.

The objective of the seminar-workshop is to convert the seven BWC policy research papers on strengthening GAD and Women and Peace Security (WPS) in BARMM, into stand-alone bills, additional provisions to the Bangsamoro GAD Code, resolutions, or non-legislative measures such as memorandum orders, policy guidelines, or executive orders. 

The said program was conducted by the BWC and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the PRLS.

| via Asmin P. Abdullah

WFD pays courtesy visit to PRLS

The Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS) welcomed a courtesy call from the officials of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) on Wednesday, October 19, in Cotabato City.

The two parties discussed the mandates and accomplishments of the PRLS as well as the support the WFD can provide to the service in capacitating its staff. Some of the project collaborations proposed in the meeting are seminar-workshops on BARMM’s electoral code, budget notes, capacity development and post-legislative scrutiny.

The WFD, a UK’s democracy assistance agency, is “dedicated to supporting democratic stability” in the Bangsamoro region. 

| via Abdul Wahid I. Tocalo, LMLAD

‘We need critical people’: PRLS-LRD Chief Casil on the importance of people’s engagement in realizing Bangsamoro’s legislative agenda

Legislative Research Division (LRD) Chief Mr. Vincent Casil, on Wednesday, said in an interview with the Bangsamoro Ngayon Teleradyo program that people’s engagement in realizing the Bangsamoro Parliament’s legislative agenda is vital.

“For a democracy to be successful, we need critical mass. We need critical people to truly engage in this democratic process [in the Bangsamoro region],” he stressed during the program. According to him, the Bangsamoro people, especially the youth, have an important role to play in achieving lasting peace for the region. The functions of the Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS) and its contribution to policy-making were also explained during the interview. Said radio program was aired through the efforts of USAID, The Asia Foundation, and United Voices for Peace Network.

PRLS supports OSG’s effort in finalizing the secretariat-wide Manual of Operations

After the three-day strategic planning organized by the Office of the Secretary General (OSG), a framework for drafting the secretariat-wide Manual of Operations has been established. The Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS) – one of the four offices operating under the OSG – participated in the activity.

From June 27 to 29, technical staff from PRLS presented the service’s manual of operations, including its mission, vision, core values, and key outputs. Among the presenters were Mr. Kebart Licayan, Mr. Nashrola Langco, and Mr. Moh’d Al-Khaleel Bogabong. Other participants from the office include Service Director Nassef Manabilang Adiong, LRD Chief Vincent Casil, and Administrative Staff Mazhar Ali. During the event, the PRLS made a significant contribution in refining the legislative secretariat’s vision, mission, and core values.

Office of MP Anayatin, PRLS conduct policy and legal research training

Member of the Parliament Dr. Susana Anayatin, in collaboration with the Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS), conducted the “Policy and Legal Research Training Workshop” from June 27 to 28 at Pagana, Kutawato Restaurant in Cotabato City.

The technical staff of the PRLS served as resource persons during the event. Their presentations include the following:

• Policy Research Template by PRLS Director Dr. Nassef Manabilang Adiong;

• Data Analysis by Legislative Research Division (LRD) Chief Mr. Vincent Casil;

• Bill Drafting by Legislative Measures and Legal Assistance Division (LMLAD) Chief Atty. Hisham Nazz Ala Biruar, CPA;

• Data Gathering and Method by LRD Technical Staff Ms. Anisah Lingga; and

• Legal Research by LMLAD Technical Staff Atty. Razul Kiram Ibrahim

The workshop was participated by the staff of MP Anayatin. According to her,

“The goal of the activity is to enhance the knowledge and skills of staff particularly their skills in drafting bills and resolutions.”