COTABATO CITY —Two measures have been lobbied for in the Bangsamoro Parliament, aimed at protecting, preserving, conserving, and promoting the rich cultural heritage of the Bangsamoro people.
Authored primarily by Members of the Parliament Diamila Disimban-Ramos, Atty. Lanang Ali Jr., Atty. Randolph Parcasio, Amilbahar Mawallil, Engr. Baintan Ampatuan, Eddie Alih, Michael Midtimbang, Ali Sangki, and Atty. Suharto Ambolodto, these bills have been introduced to ensure the recognition and advancement of the Bangsamoro cultural identity.
The first bill, BTA Bill No. 203, or the Other Bangsamoro Communities (OBC) Peace and Culture Centers Act, proposes the establishment of Peace and Culture Centers in Bangsamoro communities located outside the region.
The centers will be strategically set up in provinces and cities with a significant Bangsamoro population, as identified by the Office for Other Bangsamoro Communities (OOBC).
It will serve as a hub for various programs and services designed to enhance social, cultural, and economic development within these communities.
The bill also seeks to enhance the social development of OBCs by improving their access to education, healthcare, social protection, and livelihood opportunities. It aims to promote resilient, sustainable, equitable, and inclusive economic opportunities for OBCs by addressing their unique challenges.
The protection and promotion of the rights of Bangsamoro people residing in communities outside the region through establishing and strengthening peace and other coordinating mechanisms and platforms will also be implemented.
To oversee the implementation of these bills, the Office of the Chief Minister (OCM) will take the lead through the OOBC. The OOBC will be responsible for the management and maintenance of the Peace and Culture Centers, with recognized and accredited organizations of the OBCs playing a co-management role in utilizing these facilities.
The second bill, BTA Bill No. 204, or the Cultural Heritage Act of the Bangsamoro, seeks to establish the Bangsamoro Cultural Heritage Program (BCHP), which will reinforce the Bangsamoro Commission for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (BCPCH).
The program incorporates and advances several components, such as culture-sensitive governance, cultural development and advocacy, cultural preservation and conservation, Bangsamoro history and development, museum and library management and development, the development of cultural enterprises and tourism, and other components or programs adopted by the BCPCH and other implementing agencies.
Financial and technical assistance will be provided by the Bangsamoro Government, through the BCPCH, to local government units, non-government organizations, and private individuals involved in the preservation and restoration of cultural properties, sites, art traditions, historical artifacts, and the rich cultural heritage of the Bangsamoro people, including the non-Moro indigenous communities of BARMM.
The bill also calls for the identification, establishment, and management of cultural heritage zones, which will be designated areas of significant historical, cultural, or architectural value.
A Committee on Culture in the Bangsamoro Parliament will be established and have jurisdiction over the protection, preservation, conservation, and promotion of the Bangsamoro culture, identity, and history.
Meanwhile, authors of these two cultural heritage bills have also introduced a measure to recognize and incentivize outstanding Bangsamoro individuals.
The BTA Bill No. 202, or the Bangsamoro Achievers Act of 2023, ensures that these individuals receive recognition from the Bangsamoro government, including those from communities outside the region.
Incentives include citations, inscriptions, monetary rewards, full scholarship grants, career development opportunities, and access to appropriate training facilities.
To be eligible for these incentives, achievers must submit the required documentation, such as certifications from relevant authorities confirming their achievements.
The Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education, the Bangsamoro Sports Commission, and other Bangsamoro Government bodies responsible for recognition and incentive awards will act as implementing agencies to ensure effective program implementation.
The three bills are co-authored by MPs Atty. Ishak Mastura, Atty. Rasol Mitmug Jr., Dan Asnawie, Ali Solaiman, Froilyn Mendoza, Khalid Hadji Abdullah, Tarhata Maglangit, Bassir Utto, Tawakal Midtimbang, Jaatar Apollo Mikhail Matalam, Engr. Don Mustapha Loong, Akmad Abas, Mohammad Kelie Antao, Basit Abbas, Nabila Margarita Pangandaman, Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr., Marjanie Macasalong, and Mudjib Abu. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)