Bangsamoro Economic Zone Authority Seeks to Empower its Personnel on Labor Matters


By EDD K. USMAN | Twitter: @edd1819 | Instagram: @bluestar0910 | Facebook: SDN — Scitech and Digital News 

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MTIT Deputy Minister Atty. Sukarno A. Abas, BEZA OIC-executive director. 

COTABATO CITY (SDN) — The Bangsamoro Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) headed by its Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Executive Director Atty. Sukarno A. Abas seeks to equip its personnel with knowledge relating to labor matters.

Abas is deputy minister at the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Tourism (MTIT), one of the primary agencies of the Bangsamoro government, and mother-agency of BEZA.

To achieve this, BEZA agreed on a partnership with the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE), one of the primary ministries of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), for the conduct on November 17, 2022, of “An Orientation Seminar on Labor Relations, Human Relations, and Productivity” (LHP).

Credit for images: BEZA

BEZA employees participated in the event. It was held at the Polloc Port in Parang, Maguindanao del Norte. The port is base of the Polloc Freeport and Economic Zone, the Bangsamoro region’s only economic zone.

BARMM is comprised of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi. The Bangsamoro region was able to expand its jurisdictional territory through a plebiscite in January and February 2019 during which residents of 63 barangays or villages (now dubbed Special Geographic Area) in North Cotabato opted to be under the BARMM government.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) created the new political entity (NPE) to implement the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed on March 27, 2014, after 17 years of protracted peace negotiations.

MOLE’s Bureau of Labor Relations and Standards (BLRS) and the Bangsamoro Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (BTWPB) organized and facilitated the activity, in partnership with BEZA, seeking to empower employees and workers of the Bangsamoro autonomous region.

BEZA is under the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Tourism (MTIT) headed by Minister Abu Amri Taddik, one of the stalwarts of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Meanwhile, MOLE is led by Minister Muslimin G. Sema, another MNLF stalwart.

MOLE has many programs, one of them the LHP aimed “to empower workers and employers through awareness campaign on general labor standards and productivity to promote harmonious employer-employee relationship in the workplace.”

MOLE employees such as Maynard S. Jamolod, Jennifer S. Nur, Norhaydee Dalamban, and Norhan Kuga facilitated the activity to deliver their ministry’s message.

As a government agency, BEZA’s mandate covers the operation, administration, management, and development of the region’s economic zone (so far only one).

BEZA is also responsible for the registration, regulation and supervision of enterprises in the ecozone through efficient and decentralized manner. It also promotes and generates employment for the people of the region.

The Bangsamoro region’s Charter, Republic Act 11054 (Article XIII, Section 28) created BEZA, and it has similar powers as those provided to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) in Manila.

In relation with this, “PEZA has been helping the region set up economic zones that can be registered with BEZA.”

A special economic zone, called ecozone, pertains to areas that are selected for their being “highly developed, or which have the potential to be developed into agro-industrial, tourist, recreational, commercial, banking, investment, and financial centers.”

Needless to say, the mandate of BEZA jibes with the national government’s development thrusts and sustainable goals, and the Bangsamoro government’s 12-Point Priority Agenda, among them activating industries that will generate employment and exploring the region’s economic potentials.

To strengthen further PEZA’s assistance to BEZA, the latter’s officials have been helping promote the latter.

In line with this, PEZA Promotions and Public Relations Group Manager Aleem Siddiqui Guiapal, a deputy director general of the agency, noted that the Bangsamoro people should presently now enjoy and feel the benefits of the autonomy. (/)

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