COTABATO CITY - A United Nations UN) representative has vowed to support the labor sector of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as the fledgling political entity continues to harness its regional resources, including its industries.
Gustavo Gonzales, the UN resident coordinator to the Philippines, gave the assurance as he said more than half of their development projects in the country are in the BARMM as part of its support to the southern Philippines peace process.
"This is what Mr. Gonzales told me when we had a meeting on Tuesday," BARMM's Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) Minister Romeo Sema echoed Gonzales in a statement on Wednesday, adding that 65 percent of UN's development support projects are mostly in the Bangsamoro region.
Gonzales led the team from the UN's Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) and the UN's Population Fund (UNFPA) in a meeting with Sema where the welfare of the region's labor force was among the topics discussed.
Gonzales assured Sema and other BARMM officials that the UN will continue its humanitarian work in the region that has yet to economically rise from decades of violence and armed hostilities.
Sema, meanwhile, told UN officials that MOLE-BARMM planners and researchers are in the final stages of drafting a regional labor code to ensure the protection of the region's labor force as well as to establish a strong industrial sector in the region.
"The meeting with UN officials has inspired us to continue working hard for the welfare of the labor sector in the Bangsamoro region," Sema said.
He added that future meetings between his office and that of UN agencies on collaborative efforts and programs are currently in the pipeline.
For years, UN agencies have had various humanitarian and peace-building projects in the BARMM component provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities therein of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi. (PNA)