17-23 September 2023 | 2-8 Rabbi’ul Awwal 1445 AH

Jolo, Sulu – The Bangsamoro Women Commission, led by Chairperson Bainon G. Karon, with its partners, UNDP and UN Women, visited Sulu last September 18th to 21st for preparatory meetings on the Provincial Launch of the 3rd RAPWPS, scheduled for the last week of November, with stakeholders and duty bearers of the island. Governor Abdusakur M. Tan welcomed the team at the Capitol in Jolo, Sulu, on the evening of the 633rd Bangsa Sug Day celebration. Chairperson Bainon congratulated the Governor for the recent declaration of the Sulu being a province free from the influence of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) as the Governor expressed his full support to the advancement of the WPS agenda and encouraged the team to fortify the peacekeeping efforts leading to the development of the island. He also shared his long-term vision for a progressive and developed province through infrastructure projects and the provision of opportunities to the marginalized sector while bringing back the glory of the dignity of Bangsa Sug.

The following morning, the BWC team, together with UNDP, headed to the viewing deck of a heart-shaped Seit Lake in Panamao, Sulu, as the 21ID Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Estolas, met and accompanied the team up at Sitio Bud Bawis, that was once a haven of the Abu Sayyaf Group, that has not now turned into a Village of Peace and where 30 former ASG members and their families have settled back. Warmly met by gracious men, women, and their children who recently returned to this place under the Balik Sitio Program, an exchange of narratives and assistance was articulated in the gathering.

In the afternoon, Sulu’s First Lady and President of the Sulu Provincial Women Council (SPWC), philanthropist Hadja Nurunisah Abubakar Tan, received the Chairperson Karon and the team with the Sulu Provincial Women Council (SPWC) officers with WPS Sulu Consultant Ms Jainab Abdulmajid. The team presented the 3rd RAPWPS and the results of the assessments of the previous regional action plan, applauding the works of the SPWC and its advancement of the women’s agenda.

Inspired by the positive response from the previous meetings, the team headed to the Provincial Police Office and met with Provincial Director PCOL Narciso Paragas to invite them to the Regional and Provincial Launch of the 3rd RAPWPS in Cotabato City and Sulu, respectively.

The inauguration and turn-over ceremony of the Bangsamoro Women Multi-Purpose Center was held on the last day of the mission. The project was under the Transitional Development Impact Fund FY2020, initiated by then MP Bainon Karon and implemented by the Ministry of Public Works. The center’s property was donated by MNLF Lupah Sug State Revolutionary Chairman Alandoni Hassan at Brgy Poblacion, Indanan, Sulu. First District Engineer Ajan Ajijul, Indanan LGU, Commissioners Nurunnihar Mohammad of Sulu and Commissioner Faija Taalil together with MNLF women comrades, joined Chairperson Karon in the activity. Moreover, BWC Technical Staff Chiclet Tanghal highlighted that the BWMPC is a realization of the region’s commitment to the WPS agenda and ensuring the women of Sulu that they are not left behind with the localization of the RAPWPS.

Later in the afternoon, Chairperson Karon visited the grave of the late MNLF Chairman Yusoph Jikiri and proceeded to see the latter’s wife, Hja. Harija Dasani Jikiri and reminisced about the good old times.

Chairperson Karon and her team had a fellowship dinner with the Assistant Commander of the 11ID, WESTMINCOM, Brigader General Taharudin Ampatuan. They discussed matters of mutual interest and expressed their commitment to fostering collaboration between their respective organizations. BGen. Ampatuan shared that a group of women in Sulu were empowered, capacitated, and provided with sewing machines to support their livelihood.

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