Bangsamoro Transitional Authority Officials Conduct First Ever Overseas Study Tour in Japan

The officials of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority, or BTA, visited Tokyo and Hiroshima for their first ever overseas study tour. In diverse meetings with Japanese officials and academics, the BTA presented their policy priorities for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the needs of governance and cooperation with Japan to address challenges in governance, and the primacy of human resource development and socio-economic and livelihood assistance.

The Bangasmoro Transitional Authority, led by Chief Minister Ahod Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, pay a courtesy call on Ambassador Jose C. Laurel V

“We would like to ensure that people feel improvements in their lives immediately”, said BTA Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim in his various meetings with the academe, government, various Japanese business enterprises, and JICA. Four sectors have been prioritized by the BTA: education, which has been allocated a third of the local budget, medicine and health, social services, and infrastructure.

During his visit to Tokyo, Chief Minister Murad received from Mr. Shinichi Kitaoka, JICA President, the JICA President’s award in recognition of his contribution to development and human security, key to the mission of JICA. Minister Murad said that the award belonged “not only to the Bangsamoro but to the entire Filipino nation”. BTA officials also visited the Japanese Diet and received a briefing on the history of the institution and legislative procedures.

BTA officials travelled to Hiroshima to learn about post-conflict reconstruction in Hiroshima and the building blocks of peace. They called on the Vice-Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture Mr. Masahiko Tanabe, and on Hiroshima City Mayor Mr. Kazumi Matsui.

Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim calls on Hiroshima Vice Governor and presents a gift from the Philippines to Hiroshima City Mayor

They then received extensive briefings on urban development and fisheries development, and visited a rice milling production plant.

BTA officials visiting several industries and receiving extensive briefings from Hiroshima city officials

After a moving visit to the Hiroshima Museum, Mr. Murad and his entourage laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in Hiroshima.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), or Republic Act No. 11054, provides for the establishment of an autonomous political entity known as Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, providing for administration and governance within the framework of the Philippine Constitution. After enactment of the law, voters in the region ratified the BOL through a plebiscite on 21 January 2019. BARMM will have fiscal autonomy and govern on issues like health, education, social services, public works and others, although the national government retains jurisdiction over foreign affairs and defence.

The BTA, composed of 80 members, was appointed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on 22 February 2019 as the interim government of the BARMM during the transition period. It designated MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim as Chief Minister.

The Japanese Government has been a steadfast partner of the Philippines for development in Mindanao.