SUBATRA Consultants for PRLS

The European Union is inclined to support the transition through the program called SUBATRA (Support to Bangsamoro Transition). Its purpose is to contribute to a smooth and timely undertaking of the transition through capacity building of the Bangsamoro Government so as to promote an enabling good governance environment with a focus placed on capacities that are critical for a sound functioning of interim institutions:

 Capacity of the BTA’s executive branch superstructure to impulse and coordinate key transitional policies and capacity of governance line ministries to deliver basic services (Output 1);

 Capacity of the Parliament to exercise its law making, oversight functions and representation functions (Output 2);

 Capacity of the Justice System to adjudicate litigations and improve access to justice (Output 3); and

 Capacity of the civil society to contribute to a peaceful transition (Output 4).

To support a peaceful transition to a democratic and inclusive Bangsamoro, SUBATRA will contribute to an enabling framework, deepening of critical capacities, strengthening of norms and practices and greater voice and empowerment of those left behind, especially women and indigenous peoples. Towards this end, SUBATRA under Output 2 shall focus its support on the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament in the development of its institutional capacity, and its capacity in the performance of the lawmaking, oversight, and representation functions. In addition, SUBATRA is also aimed to support the BTA Parliament in providing technical support for the passage of vital legal instruments and codes that will ultimately serve as the institutional foundations of the Bangsamoro.

As envisaged in SUBATRA’s result 2.4 BP’s legislative and technical support services, the legislative and technical support can be done through the capacity development of the Parliament’s Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS). Thus, the role of the consultant shall play a critical task in developing the capacity of the PRLS and its staff on research and writing policy papers. The consultant shall also be tasked to conduct trainings as regards to the tools and techniques on their field of expertise in research and policy studies.

Distinguished Consultants for PRLS under the SUBATRA program

Associate Professor Dr Melanie Reyes has been with the women’s movement(s) for more than 20 years. She is a Board Officer of the Women and Gender Studies Association of the Philippines (WSAP) and member of the National Gender Resource Pool of the Philippine Commission on Women providing technical assistance through capacity building on gender concerns to national government agencies, educational institutions, and local government units. She has coordinated several projects such as the Regional Program to Promote Gender Equality in Political Participation in the Philippines with AECID and the two phases of the Women, Peace, and Security Project with USAID and USDS as the Gender and Development Head of the Women and Gender Institute (WAGI). She has conducted research on migration, women’s political participation, trafficking of women and children, sexual and reproductive rights, gender and climate change with such groups as UN Women, UNICEF Philippines, ARROW Malaysia, Oxfam Philippines, and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Women and Children. She holds a Doctoral Degree in Social Development from the University of the Philippines and a Master in Public Administration from the same university. She obtained her BA in International Studies at Miriam College. Currently, she is the Chairperson of the Department of International Studies at Miriam College. She is also a part-time lecturer at the University of the Philippines Open University teaching Women and Development Research.

Attorney Algamar A. Latiph has nearly 21 years progressive career as government lawyer, public administrator, and government consultant. Of these experience, 15 years were as government lawyer and public administrator including as Chairperson of the Regional Human Rights Commission of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (now Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission). The remaining 6 years is as consultant to high-level public officials in the ARMM and BARMM. For more than 10 years (June 2002 to Nov 2012) as Government Corporate Attorney at the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel his duties were: (a) supervising legal departments of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs); (b) draft and prepare legal opinions; (c) review GOCCs contracts; (d) draft legal memorandum for the GOCCs; (f) prepare administrative rules of GOCCs; (g) arbitration and mediation of GOCCs; and (h) legal representation. When he became Chairperson of the RHRC (September 2013 to June 2016), he acquired in-deep knowledge and experience in public administration and policy issues in the BARMM. He successfully implemented grants and projects from European Union, United Nations Development Program, Australian Aid (now Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, and United Nations-Women, to name a few. After his work in the RHRC in 2015, for the past 6 years, he was engaged as consultant to various key executive, policymakers, and agencies in the BARMM on governance, public administration, legislation, and civil service. More than 3 years of which is consultant to the Regional Governor of the ARMM (now Chief Minister) and 4 years consultancy of the President of the Mindanao State University. In the BARMM, Atty. Latiph was engaged by then RHRC, and drafted a bill, namely: Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission Bill which later became Bangsamoro Autonomous Act No. 04—the first office to be established by BARMM. He also drafted the Bangsamoro Sports Commission Bill passed into law by the Parliament. Before the Bangsamoro Organic Law was enacted he was engaged (March 2018 to August 2018) by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process providing legal advice and other substantive inputs on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. He also conducted legal research on issues relevant to the BBL. He was engaged by the two Members of the Parliament to reviewed and suggested improvements in the draft Bangsamoro Administrative Code, Bangsamoro Civil Service Code, and Bangsamoro Education Code. Apart from the foregoing professional experience, Mr. Latiph is familiar with the context as well as network and familiarity with its incumbent executives, legislators, policymakers, and officials of then BTA as well as civil society organizations within the BARMM.

Mr Assad L. Abdullah Baunto is a respected economist having worked on the policy nexus of development and conflict for 18 years. He served as the Assistant Regional Director of Regional Planning and Development in the ARMM in 2017 until the political transition, and with various local government units and international organizations previously. Assad was a research fellow in monetary and financial economics at Laboratoire d’Analyse et de Prospective Économique in France in 2007. He studied economics with specialization in industry and technology, and economics of education at the University of Oxford (2005), and at University of the Philippines (2002, 2001, and 1998).

Associate Professor Almahdi “Aldean” Alonto has worked with the various international humanitarian agencies, non-governmental organisations and government agencies. He has served as Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Extension and was Assistant Professor IV of history department at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City. Mr. Alonto obtained his M.A Degree in Conflict Resolution at the University of the Bradford as Chevening Scholar under the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office sponsorship and was a recipient of Oxford Muntada fellowship at the University of Oxford Islamic Studies. He holds M.A. in Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines, Diliman where he also finished his B.A in History. In addition, he has delivered a lecture on “Understanding the Dynamics of Conflict: A Case Study of Mindanao” at the Northern Illinois University Inter-ethnic Dialogue and Conflict Resolution and co-authored an article on “Intra-faith Dialogue: The Missing Link in inter-faith Dialogue” published by Chicago State University in 2007. Former lecturer at the De La Salle University History Department and taught in Libya for 9 years at the University of Misurata, Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Education. He is currently an Associate Professor at the History Department, of MSU main campus.

The four senior consultants are tasked to do workshop lectures and write policy papers linked to their field of expertise significantly relevant to the Bangsamoro. While Atty. Latiph will create a Bill Drafting Manual.

PRLS participation at a ‘Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Philippines’ virtual event

PRLS-LRD Officer-in-Charge Vincent Casil participated in the recently conducted webinar on “A Multidisciplinary Look at the Impacts of the European Union on the Philippines: Gaps and Opportunities” hosted by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Philippines.

The recording is available here:

Presentations are also available on

Virtual Talk on Transitional Justice in BARMM

The Bangsamoro Policy Research and Legal Services will be holding – via Zoom – a virtual talk on “Understanding Mechanism and Strategies to Deal with the Past in Times of Transition,” on December 6, 2021, 9 AM to 12 noon, Philippine Standard Time (GMT +8).

The event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. To register, please sign up here:


Understanding Mechanism and Strategies to Deal with the Past in Times of Transition

Questions of how to deal with past human rights abuses, conflict, mass atrocity, and authoritarian rule are of continued relevance in the context of a wide range of societies in transition, whether from conflict to peace, or transitions from authoritarianism. This interactive lecture will provide participants with an introduction to the practice of transitional justice and will introduce students to transitional justice dilemmas through an exploration of a number of geographically diverse case studies. The presentation will also introduce participants to a wide range of transitional justice mechanisms such as criminal trials and truth commissions. Topics explored will also include transitional justice and the politics of memory, reconciliation, and peacebuilding.

About the Speakers

Bangsamoro Parliament commends Director Nassef Manabilang Adiong’s “stellar career”

COTABATO CITY – “The Parliament aspires that the Bangsamoro young populace and the succeeding generations shall be inspired with Dr Adiong’s stellar career of bringing glory, pride, honor, and excellence back to the Bangsamoro society,” members of the Parliament expressed through an approved resolution. 

Dr Nassef Manabilang Adiong is the tenured director of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority’s (BTA) Policy Research and Legal Services. He is a prolific researcher, writer, and educator who has devoted his life to Islamic International Relations and Bangsamoro Studies. 

Just recently, he was conferred with the “UP Scientist” title under the highest rank of Scientist III of the University of the Philippines Scientific Productivity System — making him the first Moro to achieve such recognition. 

His expertise, based on the adopted measure, “extends beyond the Philippine soil.”  Among the awards he has been adorned with are:

  • Outstanding Young Men and Women (TOYM) of the Philippines honoree;
  • Plaque of Recognition’ from the Philippine Embassy in Ankara as the first outstanding Filipino PhD holder and mentor of Filipino scholars and students in Turkey;
  • Republic of Turkey’s Outstanding PhD Candidate award in Ankara;
  • Centennial Professorial Chair award from the University of the Philippines;
  • Graduate Courses Performance Award (Most Successful PhD student in International Relations);
  • University of the Philippines’ International Publication Award;
  • Mentor Zeemo recognition by the Armed Forces of the Philippines AFP) Civil Military Operation School;
  • Professorial Chairholder in Political Science and International Relations” award by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines;
  • Most Outstanding Alumni of the University of the East;
  • Nomination to the Embassy of the Philippines in Turkey for the Republic of the Philippines’ Presidential Award for Filipino Individual Overseas, also known as Pamana ng Pilipino award.

Dr Adiong also founded several research organizations, including the International Relations and Islamic Studies Research Cohort (Co-IRIS) in 2012, Philippine International Studies Organization (PHISO) in 2015, and Decolonial Studies Research Network (DSRN) in 2019.

With more than 50 scholarly books, journal articles, edited volumes and other publications, Director Adiong, according to the MPs, has provided significant contributions to advance the research development of the Bangsamoro region. 

Parliament Speaker Atty. Ali Pangalian Balindong, with MPs Engr. Baintan Ampatuan, Atty. Omar Yasser Sema, Amilbahar Mawallil, Atty. Laisa Alamia, and Atty. Rasol Mitmug introduced the resolution in the plenary. 

It was co-authored by MPs Engr. Don Mustapha Loong, Atty. Suharto Ambolodto, Rasul Ismael, Romeo Saliga, Eddie Alih, Abdullah Hashim, Ziaur-Rahman Adiong, Atty. Maisara Damdamun-Latiph, and Hatimil Hassan. (Policy Research and Legal Services)

PRLS meeting with MTIT Bureau of Investments

PRLS met the officers of MTIT Bureau of Investments (BOI) to discuss the following agenda:

1. Research Capacity and Development of the Ministry of Trade Investments and Tourism (MTIT), specifically the BOI personnel;

2. Investment Research and Promotions; and

3. Research requirements and processes for the crafting of the BARMM Investment Act and other investment-related policies.

Meeting with Director Jal of MENRE

PRLS had a meeting with Director Abdul-Jalil “Jal” Umngan, RPF, EnP, CGM, MSSEDMS of the Forest Management Services of the Bangsamoro Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy (MENRE) on September 01, 2021 to discuss the BTA Parliament Bill no. 53 or “An Act Creating the Bangsamoro Sustainable Development Board.” PRLS will provide its own review on bill 53 soon.

The meeting was also attended by a staff of MP Abdulraof A. Macacua.

PRLS orientation meeting welcomed new members

The PRLS—led by the newly appointed Director Dr Nassef Manabilang Adiong–conducted a whole-day orientation program at the BTA Extension Office’s Conference Room to brief its new technical staffs about the operations and forthcoming projects of the office.

The Service welcomed its eleven new members, including the newly appointed Chief of Legislative Measures and Legislative Assistance Division (LMLAD), Atty. Hisham Nazz A. Biruar.

The program also included discussion on PRLS’ mandate, vision and mission, accomplishments, and proposals to move forward, which includes: re-structuring of organization, short and midterm plans, and goals for the last quarter of 2021.

The meeting produced key targets that PRLS will be steering for the succeeding months.