IAG hosts a National Conference on Intergovernmental Relations with the Bangsamoro

The Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) hosted a National Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) Conference on October 01, 2019 at Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City. In attendance were representatives from the Australian Embassy, Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), national and local government officials, members of the BTA, the academe, and the media.

In his opening remarks, IAG Executive Director Atty. Benedicto Bacani expressed his gratitude to the Government of Australia for supporting the conference through the Enhancing Political Dialogue for Inclusive Peace in the Bangsamoro (EnPOLD) project.

IAG Executive Director Atty. Benedicto Bacani delivers the welcome remarks.

“The need for operationalizing the IGR mechanism has been expressed at all levels of government. Yet, recognizing the importance of IGR is not enough. We must be able to design IGR, lay down effective structures, processes and most especially evolve a culture and mindset of coordination and cooperation between and among levels of government” Atty. Bacani said.

Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson gives his message of support.

In his message, Ambassador Steven Robinson says that establishing understanding and cooperation between the BARMM and the national government “something that needs to be set up well right from the start”.

Distinguished Leaders’ Panel

The Distinguished Leaders’ Panel of the conference composed of  Lord Jack McConnell, Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) represented by Spokesperson Wilben Mayor, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Usec. Jonathan Malaya, Department of National Defense (DND) Usec. Cesar Yano, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Usec. Herman Jumilla, and Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) member Robert Maulana Alonto discussed the critical role of IGR in implementing negotiated political settlements.

First Technical Panel

The first technical panel of the conference examined the place of IGR alongside the Philippine Constitution, the Bangsomoro Organic Law, prospects of decentralization, and proposals for federalism and charter change in the Philippines. Ateneo Policy Center and IAG Fellow Atty. Michael Henry Yusingco,  Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms Executive Director Mr. Ramon Casiple, and Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Member of Parliament Atty. Jose Lorena discussed how to manage the dynamics between the constitution, national laws, organic law and regional laws toward an effective IGR mechanism.

Second Technical Panel

The second technical panel of the conference with International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) Constitution Building Advisor for the Asia Pacific, Ms. Amanda Cats-Baril, Minority Floor Leader of the BTA, Atty. Laisa Masuhud Alamia, and Chief Operating Office of IAG Development Consulting Inc., Atty. Ishak Mastura explored opportunities and discussed challenges in structuring IGR with the Bangsamoro.

IAG Senior Policy Adviser Fr. Eliseo Mercado, Jr. delivers the closing remarks.

Finally, in closing the conference, IAG Senior Policy Adviser Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr. said, “IGR is a place for cooperation between national government and BARMM, harmonization of peace agreements and national laws. IGR is not a monopoly of national government, not a monopoly of BARMM, not a monopoly of a group or anyone, but a cooperative venture to ensure cooperation and partnership of all.”