( Zia Alonto Adiong wrote this piece on June 30, 2022, the day he took his oath as 1st district representative of Lanao Del Sur. Adiong served as Member of Parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao from 2019 to 2022. He was the spokesperson of the Lanao Del Sur provincial government during the Marawi Siege in 2017).

From the Bangsamoro Parliament to the Philippine Congress, we will continue to bring the same commitment in addressing local issues, making the plight of our communities a part of the national agenda.

Upon the opening of the 19th Congress’ first session, we will immediately launch an investigation to identify the root causes of the problems encountered by Muslim Filipinos set to perform the Hajj this year, and to look into legislative measures that will introduce necessary reforms to the process.

We will also look into the issue concerning Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LASURECO), as we work towards making sure that the people of Lanao del Sur will have access to much-needed electricity.

Also a priority agenda is to earmark adequate funds for the operationalization and implementation of the Marawi Compensation Act, ensuring that the interests and welfare of its intended beneficiaries – many of them still internally displaced – are well-taken care of.

The success of the ongoing Bangsamoro peace process is linked to the rights and welfare of those who have been affected by a long history of conflict and violence in the region. For this reason, we intend to immediately refile the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Bill and the Internally Displaced Persons Rights Bill. Both bills are intended to address the historical injustices and human rights violations in the Bangsamoro region, as the State guarantees non-recurrence through legislation.

We also intend to file measures related to the utilization, preservation, development and rehabilitation of Lake Lanao and its watersheds, as we confront issues of land and climate justice.

Alongside these proposed measures, we will also work towards the activation of the Philippine Congress-Bangsamoro Parliament Forum and other mechanisms that strengthen intergovernmental relations to ensure a smooth and harmonious coordination between the National Government and the Bangsamoro Government.

In line with the pursuit of justice for all, we plan to review legislation and programs related to the Sharia Court System in the Philippines, including the feasibility of establishing a Sharia Appellate Court that will specifically receive and hear appeals on cases with decisions based on the Code of Muslim Personal Laws (Presidential Decree No. 1083).

The promotion of Halal industry is also among our priorities going into Congress, as well as highlighting the importance of Islamic banking and finance alongside the development of the Halal industry in the Philippines. We will also explore the possible institutionalization of a zakat mechanism at the national level, as part of our work towards mainstreaming the needs and concerns of Muslim Filipinos in the Philippines.

Economic development from the grassroots would not be possible without the efforts of local micro-, small and medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), which is why we intend to assist them in making sure that their products will consistently reach their target markets as they work on expanding their market demographic.

Food security requires a strong agriculture and fisheries sector, and we intend to support the establishment of state-supported facilities dedicated to an integrated and sustainable processing of local agricultural products.

A multisectoral approach to lawmaking is essential to making sure that the best interests of the people are represented in Congress. Legislation is ultimately letting the voice of the people guide the way we lead across all levels of government, in the same way that the voice of the people led us to the positions of public service we now hold.

In the next three years, we hope to continue earning the trust and respect of the public as we work with them towards sustainable growth and development that is anchored on peace and justice.

Source: https://www.mindanews.com/mindaviews/2022/07/bangsamoro-speaks-let-the-voice-of-the-people-guide-our-way-in-congress/