Policy Research Works

Completed and ongoing policy research works are listed in this section. Below is the PRLS suggested structure or outline of a policy paper.

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“The Principles and Practice of Moral Governance in the Bangsamoro” co-authored with Potre Diampuan for the Development for Peace: The Case of the Bangsamoro: 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 and 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 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 ARMM and BARMM will in effect highlight the tasks that were not successfully or satisfactorily implemented by ARMM. These are areas where BARMM can build its introductory steps to come up to the challenges of moral governance.

The Converging Role of Traditional Leaders and Non-Traditional Leaders in Conflict Resolution: The Cases of the Sultanate of Marawi, Philippines and Negeri Batu Merah, Ambon City, Indonesia: This study attempts to compare the role of traditional leaders and non-traditional leaders in land conflict resolutions in Sultanate of Marawi, Philippines and Negeri Batu Merah, Indonesia and to explain the convergence of their role in the execution of their respective authority—traditional authority and government authority—relative to land conflict. It particularly focuses on comparing the mechanism used in land conflict resolution, the concept of adat, the indigenous strategies on land conflict resolutions, the colonial legacies, and the contemporary government laws and policies on traditional leaders as these influence the traditional leaders’ stature and function today in the traditional community. This is a qualitative study, in particular, a case study as a research method. Key informant and library research (secondary data analysis) are used as a data-gathering technique. The major findings of this study include the following: One, the nature of land ownership in both countries is influenced by the kind of land policy instituted by the colonial masters. Two, the cultural practices such as the observance of the traditional ceremonies, the way the traditional institutions are looking up to, and the way the traditional leaders are chosen are maintained, however, with quite significant changes. Three, not all the traditional leaders in Negeri Batu Merah are recognized by the government, only the raja and saniri. Raja and saniri function both the role of the traditional leaders and nontraditional leaders for being the adat community leader and at the same time as a recognized village official under Law No. 6 of 2014.

An Energy System Study for Reliable Off-Grid Electrification of BASULTA: In this work, a comparative study on decentralized and clustered hybrid renewable energy system microgrids in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi islands in the Philippines, using HOMER Pro, was performed. Microgrids comprising solar photovoltaics, lithium-ion battery energy storage, and diesel generators were designed on each island. Clustered systems encompassing multiple islands in the island group were simulated by also considering the least-cost interconnection paths. The techno-economics of each decentralized or clustered system and the four-island system were evaluated based on the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE).

Effects of School Based Feeding Program to the nutritional and school performance of school children in Maguindanao: The study aims to evaluate the implementation process of the School Based Feeding Program of the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education. Program implementation only started last May 21, 2021 catering 160,000 learners across BARMM divisions for 120 feeding days adopting the provision of using fortified meal in accordance with RA 11037. The program aims to contribute to the improvement of classroom attendance, address hunger, and provide nourishment to Bangsamoro learners. This study will employ Process Evaluation methods such as content analysis, situational analysis, surveys, and interviews to capture a fuller picture of the effectivity of the implementation process.

An Act establishing the Bangsamoro Commission on Anthropocene, Ecosystem diversity, and Climate Change: As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic into a recession, policymakers need to consider catastrophic crises in ecosystem diversity spearheaded by the Anthropocene and perpetuated by climate change (and global warming). How should the Bangsamoro government pursue environmental sustainability alongside economic recovery both domestically and in the wider Mindanao region? This proposed bill shall address the long term effects of Anthropocene and climate change in the ecosystem diversity of the Bangsamoro lands. Experts have warned that, without proactive policies to limit global warming to below 4°C, climate change threatens permanent inundation of coastal areas, famine, and extreme weather that will endanger lives and livelihoods worldwide over the next century. By 2050, coastal cities will be permanently flooded, displacing millions. All coastal cities are facing sea-level rise, but some will be hit harder than others. Bangsamoro coastal areas are in for a particularly rough ride. Part of the reason for that is that the populations of coastal cities are bulging: about four out of every five people impacted by sea-level rise by the middle of this century will live in East or Southeast Asia. A carbon path that limits warming to 2°C would reduce exposure for more than 10 million in each country such as India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, the US, Philippines, Egypt, Brazil and Thailand. Despite this threat, the Philippines, particularly the Bangsamoro government, have been slow to adopt the necessary measures to prevent climate change. The devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—another anticipated global crisis for which the world was largely underprepared—has highlighted the need for countries to address global threats before they reach catastrophic proportions. At the same time, as governments enact sweeping restrictions on the movement of goods and people to fight COVID-19, the pandemic has demonstrated that countries can in fact adopt the dramatic measures necessary to address urgent threats. As the world emerges from this crisis, policymakers have an opportunity to apply the lessons learned from the pandemic to advance the fight against climate change. The pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented drop in global greenhouse gas emissions, but at astronomical economic cost, disrupting livelihoods and triggering a global recession. Moreover, as the Bangsamoro government ramps up economic activity to begin recovering, it will likely produce a spike in emissions that erases the reductions achieved in 2020. As a result, more than ever, meaningful progress in the fight against climate change will require robust, sustainable policies that slow climate change while promoting economic growth. Environmental measures that risk slowing economic growth could appear overly burdensome as the Bangsamoro government seeks to restart its economy. Past economic crises have provided opportunities to transition economies to firmer footing. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, large-scale government reforms, public works projects, and social programs facilitated the rise of new industries and spurred economic growth. In the wake of the pandemic, policymakers could similarly support new green initiatives, including environmental regulations, emissions restrictions, investments in renewable energy sources, and green infrastructure projects. As the world emerges from the pandemic into significant economic uncertainty, the Bangsamoro leaders will be more challenged than ever to develop policies that balance the acute need to address climate change with promoting economic growth and stability.

An Act Strengthening the Land Administration and Management in the BARMM: As stated in the power-sharing arrangements in the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Land Administration and Management (LAM) functions are to be transferred from national government to Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), such functions include: (1) Classification of public lands; (2) Administer and manage lands of the public domain (dispose public agricultural lands, conservation of environment, parks, forest management, wildlife and natural reserves); (3) Dispose Alienable and Disposable (A&D) lands under a public land granting system defined by the Bangsamoro Legislative Body; and (4) Sub-classify lands and cadastral and other land surveys in coordination with the Central Government. The transfer of LAM agencies already began in late 2019, however, this has not yet been fully operationalized. This calls for a need of additional strengthening from the Parliament through legislating laws pertaining to LAM functions.

An Act to License and Regulate Microfinance Institutions to Help the Poor in BARMM: The legislation aims to reduce malpractice and the charging of “excessive interest” rates by microlenders as well as to boost risk management practices, sector transparency, and the disclosure of product pricing and terms. Another goal is to attract more players into the industry thereby facilitating greater access to credit at a lower cost. Founded by Noble Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus, microfinance has helped millions of people to escape poverty. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) defines microfinance as the provision of a broad range of financial services such as deposits, loans, payment services, money transfers and insurance products to the poor and low-income households and their microenterprises. A key defining characteristic of a microfinance loan is the ability to secure credit without collateral. Moreover,BARMM could also establish a microfinancing institution that has no interest rates (riba) in the borrowed money through the establishment of a waqf institution.

An Act to Improve and Support the Ecotourism Development in the BARMM: During the recent workshop of BARMM’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism held on February 16-17, 2021, the output of the activity noted how BARMM is rich in “natural and cultural resources, exotic tourist spots, and unique wildlife.”[1] Because of the region’s fecund natural and cultural assets, it has a great potential to be further developed as a top tourist destination in the country. This goal is more conceivable compared to its previous form of government, as BARMM provides more stable governance and financial flexibility. The normalization of peace and security and the generous support of the national government are great developments that are indicative of the future of the region to be the destination for both locals and foreign visitors. Anticipating the better tourism industry in the future, BARMM should strengthen its institution not only to promote its scenic views and unique cultural experience, but to educate its visitors and local communities about their responsibilities. As such, a bill to strengthen the Eco-Tourism of the Region is proposed to be passed. Although there are some efforts to enhance tourism in the region, the bill aims to improve its existing tourism programs. Its focus is to frame tourism in the region under the framework of sustainable, ecological, culturally sensitive, and mutually benefitting practices. Ecotourism promotes responsibility from the tourists and the community. It pays importance to the respect of culture, indigenous rights, environmental education and ethics, while providing benefits to the community.[2] This framework is critical to ensure that the tourism industry will protect the cultural identity of the region and its natural resources. In particular, the bill proposes to: (1) Develop and promote ecological tourism; (2) Protect eco parks (prevent pollution and vandalisms); (3) Facilitate an improved mode of transportation to make it more attractive and conducive to the visitors; (4) Create and promote ecotourism products; (5) Educate the local and visitors in eco-tour practices; (6) Establish an eco-tourism council; and (7) Explore areas that can be developed as eco-parks. In the end, an improved ecotourism in the region shall benefit the locals as it generates more jobs. Studies on ecotourism in Palawan and Batangas have shown the increased income and better livelihood of the locals.[3] Lastly, ecotourism shall elevate the region in a better light. An effective promotion of the beauties of the region can counter the different biases against the region and narratives that are set in an unjust light.

Institutionalizing the Bangsamoro Alternative Dispute Resolutions: Issues, Prospects and Challenges: This study attempts to map out the prospects, issues, and challenges in institutionalizing the Bangsamoro Alternative Dispute Resolutions, meaning the use of the traditional leaders and non-traditional leaders in addressing conflict, particularly the communal conflicts or locally known as rido among the Meranaos, Maguindanao, and Tausug, in place of or complimentary with the existing means of settling disputes such as the Judiciary (i.e. Civil courts and Shariah Courts), Office of the Philippine National Police, and the Katarungang Pambarangay, to name a few, in addressing communal conflicts in the Bangsamoro areas. Existing data have shown that even though there have been existing institutions in the Bangsamoro areas that cater for conflict cases such as the agencies mentioned above, there still are numerous cases of communal conflicts or rido that persist. Hence, drawing from these scenarios, it can be deduced that these institutions had not prevented nor it did they solve this kind of problem. One research shows that from the 1930s to 2005 alone, there were 1,266 rido cases recorded (Torres III, 2007)[1], and most of them are yet to be solved. Moreover, what is more alarming in this issue was how it has been affecting the community: involved in these rido cases were curtailed to roam around freely, do their day-to-day activities, and even prevent looking for economic activities. Keeping in mind the magnitude it had to the community—rido cases, it is no brainer that there is a need to look for alternatives to address these issues. Among the prospective alternative is the hybrid means, a means of conflict resolutions combines the traditional leaders (i.e. Sultan) and non-traditional leaders (i.e. Mayor), of solving conflict, which has been employed by numerous localities across the region (i.e., Bangsamoro areas) (Panganting, 2020).

A proposed policy resolution establishing the “Bangsamoro Identity Research Cluster” (BIRC) that directly addresses Article II (Bangsamoro Identity) of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) or R.A. 11054: To contribute to the priority legislative agenda of the 1st Bangsamoro Development Plan 2020-2022 under chapter 6 on the “Preservation of Identity,” there is a need to address the historical and precolonial roots of the Bangsamoro identity by upholding decolonial methodological approaches in framing, theorizing, and designing literature on both written and unwritten Bangsamoro’s history by decoding and transposing it to relatable lay language understood by all Moro communities. The proposed cluster aims to contribute to the limited literatures on the historical roots of the Bangsamoro’s identity available in the public, which is oftentimes written based on outside sources such as Spaniard’s narratives or written by foreign or Manila-based authors. It also provides the insider’s or we perspective (pantayong pananaw) positionality in writing and decoding Bangsamoro historical literature that upholds decolonial thinking and praxes in understanding and preserving the Bangsamoro identity. The said resolution will be spearheaded by the BARMM Parliament’s Policy Research and Legal Services and constituted by the research units and planning divisions across institutions of the ‘Government of the Day’, including university academics in Mindanao.

Mandatory Civil Registration of Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Other Civil Acts such as Muslim Divorces, Muslim Divorces, Conversion to Islam, Legal Instruments; and Court Decrees/Orders: Taken from WHO: “When deaths go uncounted and the causes of death are not documented, governments cannot design effective public health policies or measure their impact. Civil registration is something that all developed countries have, and that developing countries need. Information on births and deaths by age, sex and cause is the cornerstone of public health planning.” Planning of the BARMM government needs accurate data to determine the plans and programs to be provided. To develop a well-functioning civil registration system in the BARMM that reflects accurate and timely data, not just approximate ideas of the numbers, the longevity and the health of their population, as well as the marital status of the population; and to revisit the national Administrative Order No. 1, series of 2005 dated June 2005 (Rules and Regulations Governing Registration of Acts and Events Concerning Civil Status of Muslim Filipinos, the body proposes the enactment of the BARMM One-Time Civil Registration Period (Provide a one-time opportunity to avail civil registration for all residents of BARMM) . This bill seeks an accurate data for policy use and program implementation, incentivize by making copies of the civil registered documents free of charge during the first application.