Mindanao’s Muslim autonomous region has established an Office for the Settler Communities to ensure that the welfare and concerns of Christian and other settler communities in the predominantly Muslim region are addressed.
“Being a political infrastructure working for inclusive and moral governance … my leadership consciously makes its effort to engage all peoples in governance,” said Ahod ‘Alhaj Murad’ Ebrahim, the region’s chief minister.
Representatives of various settler communities, mostly from the Christians for Peace Movement, met last week to plan the direction of the new office.
“The activity was very critical to jumpstart the office operation as an attached agency to the Office of the Chief Minister,” said Edgardo B. Ramirez who has been appointed executive director of the new office.
Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, retired prelate of Cotabato, expressed his support for the office even as he challenged stakeholders to look into how the office can facilitate productive dynamics among settler communities and the other peoples in the region.
The Office for Settler Communities is mandated to ensure that settlers enjoy the rights guaranteed to them by the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Constitution, and all other laws as may be enacted by the regional parliament.
The office will provide advice and assistance to the chief minister in the formulation, coordination, implementation, and monitoring of policies, plans, programs, and projects affecting settler communities.
It will also coordinate with ministries, agencies, and other offices, and act as the primary agency for coordination with settler communities in raising concerns requiring assistance from the Bangsamoro government.