Honorable Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, Speaker Atty. Pangalian Balindong, PCW Executive Director Atty. Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua, Secretary General Prof. Raby Angkal, Members of the Parliament and of the Cabinet, partners from the International Donor Communities, UN Agencies, Civil Society and Non-Government Organizations, security sector, Muslim Religious Leaders, fellow Bangsamoro government employees, friends, and other guests,

Magandang umaga po sa ating lahat.
Historically, women had been considered powerless, underrated, vulnerable, and a commodity. Their roles are simply being housewives, taking care of the children, and doing household chores. Women were sold as commodities during the war. In traditional moro families, sons preferred to be educated over their daughters; and daughters were married off for peace offerings and political gains. For the longest time, women have been silenced by the idea that “men are superior and women are inferiors”. This kind of discrimination forced women to be better by empowering themselves through education, political participation, and fighting for equality. Silent battles, ideas, and dreams became their norms. Women were silent.

Historical injustices have yet to be addressed but the daily injustices being done to our women must be corrected by the laws and policies written and passed for the peace and security of all women from different sectors.

The multiple burdens that our women face weaken their faith in the laws of the land. Undeniably, the devastating effects of years of recurring conflicts and disasters have silently killed them to their very core, particularly our indigenous women.
Despite all of this, we took the challenge and strive to be better daughters, wives, mothers, leaders, advocates, mediators, negotiators, and entrepreneurs. We fought for equity and empowerment to be able to achieve equality. We are the most resilient created in this angry world. We see positivity in all the negativity this world throws at a woman.

I remember one incident where a young woman came up to me and said, “Ang BOL ay patunay na nakamit natin ang kapayapaan para sa Bangsamoro. Ang mga kababaihan ay kasingkahulugan ng kapayapaan at seguridad. Ngunit bakit tayong mga BABAE ay patuloy na lumalaban para sa ating kapayapaan at seguridad? Sa tuwing may sakuna at sigalot, tayo ang pinaka-apektado. Tayo ang unang nakararanas ng kahirapan. Tayo ang unang nakararanas ng karahasan at diskriminasyon.” I realize women value the role of the Bangsamoro government in guarding and protecting their rights.

Today, we kick off the annual observance of the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW). And, just like in the past 3 years, I stand before this august body, to deliver the annual State of the Bangsamoro Women Address.

But before I present to you the current status and condition of our women, let me pick up where we left off from last year’s 3rd Address. In my call to action, I have enumerated seven points.

Number 1 – Awareness raising and capacity-building interventions for top management, policy, and decision-makers on gender and development and ensuring the functionality of the GAD Focal Point System

Number 2 – Improve access to educational assistance and livelihood opportunities for women and girls.

Number 3 – Enhance the participation of women, including former female combatants, in the Bangsamoro transition, normalization processes, governance, peace, and security mechanisms.

Number 4 – Strengthen enforcement of laws on GBV and VAWC and recommend disciplinary measures against Barangay officials and local leaders who encourage and will facilitate settlement of rape cases especially when victims are minors;

Number 5 – Ensure availability of a comprehensive multi-sectoral response (health, social services, safety and security, justice, and legal aid) where gender-based violence victims-survivors can access immediate, safe and confidential life-saving interventions across the region; and

Number 6 – Enhancement of the religious guidelines (fatawa) on the Model Family in Islam with the integration of the five (5) religious guidelines against gender-based violence to strengthen family and community relations.

On raising awareness and building capacities of planners, policy, and decision-makers on gender and development, I am happy to share that since 2019 to present the Bangsamoro Women Commission has organized and conducted a series of training and workshops for all the ministries and offices on gender and development.

In terms of Gender Mainstreaming, BWC has worked hard since 2019 to lay down the foundation. In 2020-2021, although the COVID-19 pandemic slowed everything that did not stop us from installing strategic mechanisms because our ministries, offices, and agencies have hired competent people to do the job. All twenty-nine (29) ministries, offices, and agencies have been capacitated on basic GAD concepts; legal imperatives; gender-responsive policy-making and budgeting; gender in Islam; preparation of GAD plans and budgets; and submission of GAD accomplishment reports including coaching and mentoring. Budget officers, accountants, planning officers, and GAD focal were coached and mentored by BWC in preparation for their GPBs for FY 2023.

New Members of the Parliament are enjoined to ensure that they implement GAD and integrate it into their respective programs for their respective districts. 80 Members of the Parliament on gender and development, planning and budgeting, and gender mainstreaming. This progress in GAD implementation in the Parliament is a result of the active efforts of a functional GAD Focal Point System headed by the Parliament Speaker.
MAFAR capacitated one hundred fifty (150) women and one hundred twenty (120) men capacitated with gender sensitivity training from January to September 2022.

In the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) 51% underwent training on gender sensitivity. Additionally, 13.33% of women and 0.55% of men were capacitated on using energy products and services such as energy efficiency, conservation, and safe practices.

Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC) has capacitated thirty-eight (38) women and sixty-two (62) men on Gender and Development and Child Protection as well as on Gender Bias and Laws and GAD.

As for the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE), 85% of private workers were oriented based on the inspection Target and Technical Assistance on Productivity, and 90% of the ministry’s employees and staff were capacitated with GST to promote gender equality in the workplace.
In terms of information and technology, one hundred forty-six (146) women and men were capacitated by the Bangsamoro Information and Communication Technology Office with ICT Training Needs Assessment Tools, Digital Transformation in BARMM through cutting edge technologies, Introduction to CISCO certification, and a series of ICT Literacy Training.

In terms of policy development, BWC-GFPS formulated its GAD Agenda and crafted a 6-year strategic plan for the implementation and utilization of its 5% GAD. In collaboration with BTA-Policy Research and Legal Services developed seven (7) policy research papers on Gender and Development programs which are now being finalized for roll-out in partnership with UNDP.

BWC with technical support from SUBATRA, is finalizing its Manual of Operations and Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Bangsamoro Autonomy Act No. 8 or the act creating the Bangsamoro Women Commission.

In terms of monitoring and evaluation, GAD implementation in the region is being overseen and coordinated by the Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC) which replaced the Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women (RCBW). The BWC was created by virtue of Bangsamoro Autonomy Act (BAA) No. 8, otherwise known as the Bangsamoro Women Commission Act of 2022. The BWC, as part of its mandate, performs an oversight function in terms of GAD planning and budgeting of all ministries, offices, and local government units (LGUs) in the region.

Considering that currently, LGUs’ GAD plans and budgets are being submitted to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the oversight function of the BWC is with respect only to ministries and offices’ GAD implementation. A policy or guidelines with respect to LGUs’ GAD plan preparation and submission is still being discussed between the BWC and the Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG).

Based on the GAD Report submitted to PCW by the Chief Minister, for the fiscal year 2021, the Parliament approved a total budget of P75.6 billion, which covered the budgets of the different ministries, offices, and agencies. Of this amount, P4,733, 760, 977.24 was utilized for GAD or 6.3% of the total approved budget. This is an improvement from 2020’s P255,524,119.0 actual GAD expenditure.

In terms of the functionality of the GAD Focal Point System, out of twenty-nine (29) ministries, offices, and agencies, only sixteen (16) have constituted their respective GAD Focal Point System (GFPS). This is understandable also because there are still offices that have not appointed yet their permanent/regular personnel.

The creation of the Bangsamoro Gender and Development Special Committee (BGADSC) under the Bangsamoro Economic and Development Council (BEDC) ensures that all ministries, offices, and agencies are working together to provide better programming, monitoring, and funding for GAD activities to our marginalized men, women, and gender minorities in our communities based on their approved GAD plans and budgets.

To improve access to educational assistance and livelihood opportunities for women and girls, the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) has been implementing the Angat Bangsamoro Tungo sa Karunungan or ABaKa Program strictly based on a scoring system. The poorer the student, the higher the points. ABaKa Program, which started in 2020 during the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic, provides one-time financial assistance to poor students in the region to cover school-related expenses such as school supplies, books, projects, internet/data load, and other related expenses. A total of 31,000 students across the region benefited from the program in 2020, while there were 20,000 beneficiaries in 2021. For 2022, the MSSD targeted a total of 20,000 beneficiaries. Of the 20,000 targeted for 2022, more than 12,000 are young women and girls.

Women also have proven their abilities in entrepreneurship and handling their own businesses as end products of attending technical livelihood programs with the help of various significant stakeholders. They have been exposed to various technical livelihood assistance and training, some were given startup kits, and capital access to establish their own businesses. These technically prepared them to set their mindsets to be creative and use their resources as a source of income. This endeavor led them not just to strive and survive but to thrive as well.

In terms of Women’s Economic Empowerment, BWC endorsed one hundred twenty (120) accredited women’s organizations to access P50,000 pesos of capital assistance facilitated by my former BTA office under the TDIF program.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism (MTIT) have a total of two thousand nine hundred eighty-six (2,986) women who own micro, small, and small enterprises, accounting for 86.10% of the firms/businesses held by women entrepreneurs. This corresponds to the number of registered business establishments owned by women. One hundred sixty-four (164) women and one hundred twenty-two (122) men participated in consumer education and information dissemination programs were recorded, while a total of seventy-six (76) women entrepreneurs partnered with financial institutions and accessed their programs and services. A total of eight (8) men and women-owned MSME business establishments were renewed.

In Tawi-Tawi provincial office, there were documented four hundred eighteen (418) formalized women-led/owned enterprises and one hundred thirty-three (133) or fifty percent (57%) out of the registered micro-enterprises. Moreover, twenty-one (21) cooperatives and forty-four (44) associations led by women were registered. While one hundred seven (107) women and one hundred forty-six (146) men took part in consumer education and information dissemination events, thirty-one (31) women and fifty-five (55) men renewed their business registrations.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Aquatic Resources (MAFAR) recorded one hundred twenty (120) women recipients of economic programs that target IP women from January to September 2022. This same year, MAFAR facilitated Skills Training for men and women. A total of three hundred twenty (320) women out of six hundred twenty (620) participants joined in the said training.

On labor and employment, the Ministry of Labor and Employment recorded a total of one hundred seventy-eight (178) associations registered in 2021, and one hundred thirty-one (131) new accounts were formed in 2022. Department Order 131, also known as the Labor Laws compliance system was put into place to support the increased safety of women workers.

On the number of women in the workforce, the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education – Technical Education and Skills Development MBHTE-TESD recorded a significant increase in the last five (5) years in the following provinces: 17% in Maguindanao, 60% in Lanao Del Sur, 22% in Basilan, 52% in Sulu, and 40% in Tawi-Tawi.

The Moropreneur, Inc. in partnership with different organizations, UN agencies, and donors from international organizations, has documented a total of three thousand four hundred twenty-five (3,425) women organizations assisted through Women Economic Empowerment (WEE) in the last 5 years.

Kadtabanga Foundation for Peace and Development Advocates, Inc. provides capital assistance through Islamic Finance to one hundred fifty (150) women combatants. Of the total number, there were one hundred (100) who did not succeed due to natural calamities while fifty (50) didn’t operate. Currently, there are sixty (60) Learning Facilitators in the community, and twenty (20) community volunteers in the program. They have conducted 50 Community-based training orientations on gender, WPS, and Islamic Finance.

In enhancing the participation of women, including former female combatants, in the Bangsamoro transition, normalization processes, governance and peace, and security mechanisms, one hundred fifty (150) former female combatants out of 14,000 forces participated in the 4th phase of the decommissioning. These women are part of the Bangsamoro Islamic Women Auxiliary Brigade, the female armed wing of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

A year after their creation in 2021, the Women Insider Mediators-Rapid Action and Mobilization Platform or WIM-RAMP members continue to reach out to marginalized and vulnerable groups in their efforts to build resilience and peace in their respective communities. The creation of the WIM-RAMP was supported by the United Nations Development Programme. It is a group of community-based women mediators and peacebuilders representing their own respective organizations who have committed to actively working towards building community resilience.

In terms of women, peace, and security, the BARMM RAP-WPS assessment workshops were conducted across all provinces of the BARMM, bringing together a total of one hundred thirty-four (134) representatives from BARMM ministries and agencies, UN agencies, CSOs, LGUs, academia, national government, and security institutions attended the workshops. The results of these assessment workshops will be utilized in the updating of the BARMM RAP-WPS for its next cycle covering 2023-2028. The review of the plan implementation was convened by the Bangsamoro Women Commission, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, UN Women, United Nations Population Fund, and The Asia Foundation.

There is also ongoing technical assistance and exchange on the integration of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda in the completion of the Bangsamoro Plan of Action on Community Resilience and formulation of local Peace and Order and Public Safety (POPS) Plans, for example in the province of Lanao del Sur.
With support from the Embassy of Canada, a new Joint Programme will be implemented by UNDP and UN Women towards empowering women for sustainable peace in the BARMM. The program will focus on empowering women to participate and lead in peacebuilding, conflict prevention, and conflict resolution, while also enhancing the ownership and responsibility of the BARMM government in promoting gender equality and meaningful inclusion of women in peace and security processes.

The following development partners contributed to these initiatives – Australian Embassy, British Embassy in Manila, Embassy of Canada, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Embassy of Sweden, Norwegian Embassy, European Union.

On ensuring the participation of indigenous women in policy and decision-making, the UN Women, with assistance from the United Nations Population Fund, organized a capacity building on indigenous peoples’ women on the Women, Peace and Security and Policy Dialogue on the draft IP Code of the BARMM. The policy dialogue resulted in identifying entry points for the IP women on the draft IP Code to integrate their inputs on IP women’s protection and participation. Their inputs will be brought forward during the deliberation of the draft code at the Parliament.

The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs (MIPA) has recorded 65% of women leaders. 85% of people reached by awareness campaigns on mainstreaming gender, delivered to all levels and bodies of the government in the entire BARMM region and 85% on government staff that have received gender-sensitive training.

On Transforming Gender Norms and Culture, MIPA documented three hundred fifty (350) Bangsamoro women recognized for their roles as repositories of Bangsamoro knowledge, systems and practices and seven (7) Policies were implemented to protect women’s Bangsamoro knowledge systems and practices, traditional livelihood, and other manifestations of their cultures and ways of life. Indigenous People Education is already integrated into the BARMM educational curriculum.

On strengthening enforcement of laws on GBV and VAWC, and recommending disciplinary measures against Barangay officials and local leaders who encourage and will facilitate settlement of rape cases especially when victims are minors, the Maguindanao Philippine National Police. Twenty (20) females participated in the Training of Trainers for the Maguindanao Police officers Enhanced Maguindanao Guidance Note on the prevention of and Response to GBV and VAWC which was spearheaded by the BWC. Among the salient features of the guidance note, is the prohibition on settlement of rape cases especially when victims are minors, and the filing of appropriate cases for those who will facilitate the settlement.

BWC with different civil society organizations, continue to work together to provide education to the Bangsamoro communities on the practical concept of gender, their rights as women and men in Islam, and the different laws that protect the rights of women and young girls from all forms of violence. It is about time that our voices are heard and we make a stand against violence.

In terms of prevention and response to sex and gender-based violence and violence against women and girls, with technical assistance from Bangsamoro Women Commission, my office when I was still a Member of the Parliament and the office of MP Atty Suharto M Ambolodto, United Nations Population Fund, Non-Violent Peace Force and Oxfam rolled out the Enhanced Maguindanao Guidance Note on the Prevention of and Response to Gender Based Violence and Violence Against Women and Girls. It will be cascaded to the communities in the 36 municipalities of Maguindanao as part of raising the awareness of the community, including Barangay officials and traditional leaders. Capacitated sixty-five (65) Women and Children Protection Desks or WCPDs of the PNP on the prosecution of GBV and VAWG cases, and training on legal writing for all the WCPDs of Maguindanao organized by the Bangsamoro Women Commission. This was conducted, in partnership with the Department of Justice through the office of the Maguindanao Provincial Prosecutor and Public Attorney’s Office, and the United Nations Population Fund. The training capacitated the WCPDs in building a case and preparation of judicial affidavits.

You might be wondering why most of the interventions are focused on Maguindanao. The reason is that reports from the Police Regional Office in the BARMM reported cases on VAW are highest in Maguindanao, and most often, these cases do not reach the courts because same are settled amicably.

Reports from the Women and Child Protection Units as shown in the infographics this 2022, there were eighty (84) reported cases in Maguindanao, one (1) reported case in Lanao, two (2) reported cases in Basilan, two (2) reported cases in Sulu, and zero (0) or no reported cases in Tawi-Tawi.

The Ministry of Interior and Local Government has provided capacity-building interventions to further strengthen the Barangay VAW Desks as they handle and respond to cases of VAW.

In collaboration with MILG-Lanao, BWC conducted gender awareness during the VAW Desk Management Training on prevention and response to VAW cases. The activity capacitated 12 barangay or VAW Desk Officers, Chairpersons, and Lupon Tagapamayapa. BWC-Maguindanao and MILG-Cotabato City capacitated twenty-five (25) VAW Desk Officers and Municipal GAD focal from the twelve (12) barangays in the 2nd district of Maguindanao.

BWC, both regional and provincial offices, have conducted education and awareness campaigns in fifty-eight (58) municipalities covering one thousand two hundred ninety-five (1,295) barangays or two thousand nine hundred (2,900) community men and women from different sectors. BWC has partnered with Community Organizers Multiversity in the conduct of Community Conversations and Awareness Raising on practical concepts on GAD and gender in Islam, RA 11596 or the Prohibition of Child Marriage (CEFM) Law, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, and unpaid care work.

On ensuring the availability of a comprehensive multi-sectoral response (health, social services, safety and security, justice and legal aid) where gender-based violence victims-survivors can access immediate, safe, and confidential life-saving interventions across the region, the Child protection-Gender Based Violence or CP-GBV Referral Pathway was enhanced recently by the MSSD and in consultation with the Joint CPGBV Working Group making the process simpler, thus, allowing the victim-survivors to access the services more easily. The updated version will then be popularized across the region in reporting GBV.

In terms of human settlement, the Ministry of Human Settlements and Development (MHSD) has constructed a total of two thousand five hundred ninety-three (2,593) Housing units that have access to adequate potable water, sanitation facilities, and safe electricity connection. However, beneficiaries were not yet identified. The designs of these housing units are all responsive to women’s needs, considering divisions in rooms and comfort rooms. A total of one hundred thirty-one (131) units have been occupied from Phase I and III Housing, with eighty-five (85) being women reflecting 65% of the total with access to credit for housing.

In terms of access to justice, by virtue of a Memorandum of Agreement between and among the Bangsamoro Women Commission, Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines through its chapter in Cotabato City, will be providing free legal assistance to VAWC victim-survivors. This partnership was formed with the facilitation of the UNFPA. The Bangsamoro Women Commission also participated in the crafting of a roadmap for the Tri-Justice System in BARMM.

The Ministry of Public Order and Safety and different peace partners have recognized several women’s groups. They are continuously collaborating to engage these organized women’s groups in security, justice, and peace initiatives. In Lanao del Sur one (1), Maguindanao three (3), Special Geographic Area two (2), Basilan two (2), Tawi-Tawi – one (1) women organizations. In addition, some women’s groups are yet to be recognized.

Through the Alternative Dispute Resolution program of the Ministry and a series of capacity, development training is being conducted and provided to the identified women’s groups in BARMM provinces including SGA to capacitate and equip them with necessary skills on peacebuilding, mediation skills, rido settlement, among others.

The Bangsamoro Women Commission through its Provincial Office of the Commissioners has conducted a mapping of women inmates in the five (5) provinces. Twenty-five (25) women inmates in Maguindanao, sixteen (16) in Lanao Del Sur, Twenty Four (24) in Sulu, Five (5) in Basilan, and Seventy Three (73) in Tawi-Tawi.

Being the Gender Ombud, the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC) has reported six (6) cases of violation of R.A 9262. Personnel in the security sector were the alleged respondents. Another six (6) cases of violations of RA 9262, RA 8353, and attempted Parricide were from the reports of the Women and Children’s Protection Desk (WCPD).

MOLE documented nineteen (19) reported cases of women OFWs victims-survivors of abuse or domestic violence and two hundred fifty (250) OFWs were repatriated. In line with the programs that respond to returned women OFWs, MOLE implemented Manggagawa Program, Repatriation, and OFW’s Social, Death, Disability, and Burial Benefits.

On agrarian reform, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry (MAFAR), there were ninety-five (95) women holders of land ownership recorded from two hundred fifteen (215) land owners from January to September 2022.

One humanitarian response during emergencies, the onslaught of typhoon Paeng last October 28, washed-out communities in several municipalities in Maguindanao. The most affected were Datu Odin Sinsuat, North Upi, and Datu Blah Sinsuat in Maguindanao, a coastal town.

Based on the data released by BDRRMC on Nov. 4, Typhoon Paeng left the Bangsamoro region with 570,285 individuals affected, including 53 death casualties, 12 missing, and 38 injured.

A total of three hundred seventy-one (371) houses were damaged and 480 were partially damaged BARMM’s infrastructure and agriculture logged an estimated cost of damages amounting to Php585,602,426.33.

To address the needs of pregnant women as they recover from the impact of Paeng, the Women’s Health on Wheels (WHOW), a 24/7 mobile birthing facility, is now deployed at Barangay Badak near the ground zero. The deployment of WHOW is a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health and is currently providing maternal health care and services, including safe and clean deliveries, to avert maternal deaths.

BWC assisted three hundred twenty (320) women in Barangay Kurintem, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, who were victims of the flash floods during Typhoon Paeng.

On the enhancement of the religious guidelines (fatawa) on the Model Family in Islam with the integration of the five (5) religious guidelines against gender-based violence to strengthen family and community relations, BWC in partnership with Bangsamoro Darul-Ifta’, URC, UNFPA, and my BTA office has published its five (5) religious guidelines against gender-based violence with reference to the Fatwa on the Model Family in Islam, entitled Wife Discernment and Abandonment, Trafficking Women and their Children, Violence Against Women, Husband Forcing Sexual Relation with his Wife and Rape.

The religious guidelines (fatawa) may be integrated in the Family Development Sessions of MSSD, used in the Khutba during Friday prayer, and disseminated in the five (5) provinces of the region. The Population Commission of Region 12 has trained Muslim Religious Leaders in terms of Reproductive Health and Family Planning where the fatwa on the Model Family in Islam is integrated.

As part of the program of BWC on Community Resilience and Support to Family Development, Tarbiyah modules are being finalized, which are envisioned to strengthen values development/transformation for peaceful engagement and community resilience. BWC partnered with the Bangsamoro Darul-Ifta’, MBHTE-Madaris, and the academe and is supported by UNDP. Pilot-tested the module to identified communities in Maguindanao, BWC Women’s Tarbiyyah Council, and the Kadtabanga Foundation conducted Community Tarbiyyah to five hundred seventeen (517) men and women.

In this period of transition, we have sustained our efforts on empowering more community and grassroots women as leaders, mediators, and peacebuilders, as part of an early warning response mechanism considering that BARMM is a conflict-affected and disaster-prone area.

Let me cite the experience of women members of the Social Welfare Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the SPMS Box in Maguindanao. Previously, the military detachment at Barangay Elian, Datu Saudi Ampatuan was constantly harassed by armed groups. The United Youth of the Philippines or UnyPhil Women started organizing the women from the Social Welfare Committee until eventually, Sigay nu mga Babay was formed. The Sigay constructed their center beside the military detachment in Barangay Elian. The center has become the area of convergence for different networks and organizations that provide intervention in the area. It also showcases native delicacies and handicrafts made by members of Sigay.

It has been more than one year already since the Sigay center was constructed and operational. And it has been more than one year also that no harassment was reported at that military detachment beside Sigay. What does this tell us? That women are instrumental in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The good practices born from empowering women from the conflict-affected area in the SPMS Box are reminders to us that women’s role and contribution as active agents of peace and development should be on the mainstream and not on the sidelines.

There is still so much to be done in terms of improving the status and condition of the Bangsamoro women. The Bangsamoro Women Commission cannot do this alone. We need the cooperation of all ministries and offices of the regional government, and local government units, including our partners from the donor communities, and non-government and civil society organizations.

In the remaining years of the transition, we call on everyone’s support to:
1. Institutionalizing programs to support women’s economic empowerment;
2. Strengthening implementation of laws to protect women and girls from violence and abuse;
3. Institutionalizing database management on sex, age, and disability disaggregated data including vulnerability data, for programming and policy development
4. Strengthening coordination between and among ministries and offices in terms of prevention and response to GBV, including access to sexual and reproductive health services, especially during complex emergencies;
5. Strengthening implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda especially its localization at the provincial and municipal level.
6. Institutionalization of a Gender-Responsive Humanitarian Response with the integration of a Climate Action Plan
7. Community-Awareness of the Implementation of Republic Act No. 11596 or the Act Prohibiting Child Marriage
8. Institutionalization of the Gender Ombud Guidelines of the BHRC in support of the implementation of the BARMM GAD Code

At this juncture, I would like to express our gratitude to the Office of the Chief Minister for its support to the Commission, as well as the Parliament of the BTA, our partners from the International Donor Communities- the UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, TAF, SUBATRA, WFD, Oxfam, IRW, IR, – non-government and civil society organizations- UnyPhil, MOSEP, Kadtabanga Foundation for Peace and Development Incorporated, Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Societies, Community Organizers Multiversity, ACTED, IDEALS and all the ministries and offices for the sustained collaboration and coordination towards ensuring the protection of women and girls and their empowerment and participation, especially in this period of transition.

Let me summarize the challenges, milestones, and journeys in this 4th State of the Bangsamoro Women Address through the acronym, “BABAE KA!”.
B-A-B-A-E-K-A which stands for
Breaking the Silence
Admirable Gender and Development Empowerment Endeavors
Best versions of Women Leadership
Amplified Transformative Participation
Enacted Laws and Policies
Kind Reflection of strength and inspiration
Applauded Milestones and Journey

To end, I just want to ask everyone here.
May kilala ba kayong tao na sobra kung magmahal? Overprotective sa minamahal? Matapang at naninindigan para sa tama?
May kilala ba kayong taong matatag na handang isakrispisyo ang lahat para sa mga pinahahalagahan nila?
Opo. Siya ay isang BABAE.
At ang babae na tinutukoy ko ay maaaring ang inyong ina, kapatid, asawa, lola, kaibigan, guro, o kahit sino pa.
This COMMISSION will make a stand and uphold the rights of every woman in the BANGSAMORO.
Together, let us work harder to make BARMM VAW-free. Wabilahi
Taufiq Wal Hidaya Wasallamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.