BYC holds first-ever regional youth assembly in Bangsamoro

COTABATO CITY (May 10, 2024)—The Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC) convened the first-ever regional youth assembly on May 8-9 in Cotabato City, bringing together 50 youth leaders from various sectors within and outside the Bangsamoro region.

BYC Chairperson Marjanie Mimbantas Macasalong, in a message delivered by Chief Administrative Officer Nairah Manongcarang, emphasized the crucial roles of youth in sustaining the gains of the peace process. He encouraged them to value the sacrifices and legacies of the Moro leaders who championed peace in the region.

Chairperson Macasalong also serves as one of the 80 members of the Bangsamoro Parliament, advocating for youth-related policies in the regional legislative body.

BYC Youth Development Officer Settie Ivy Ampatuam stated that the two-day assembly aimed to facilitate dialogue among youth leaders, various ministries of the Bangsamoro government, and development partners to address diverse youth issues and concerns in the region.

During a panel discussion, representatives from BARMM’s ministries of health, education, science and technology, agriculture, fisheries and agrarian reform, social services, and youth commission presented their efforts for youth. They discussed youth issues and concerns related to health, education, youth participation and opportunities, access to social services, and agriculture.

Alvin Lois Pembarat of MSU-Maguindanao’s Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (PDM) shared successful youth-led initiatives of the institute, providing insights to the assembly.

On the second day of the assembly, youth leaders drafted action plans addressing various issues where youth play crucial roles, such as climate change, disaster preparedness, health and well-being, and agriculture. The sessions were facilitated by experts from UNICEF, Plan International, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Nasserudin Dunding and Pratimah Sabal-Samsaraji, both commissioners of BYC, and Mohamadan Abdulkasan, youth protection specialist from UNICEF, were also in attendance at the assembly.

The Regional Youth Assembly comprises 50 youth leaders representing various sectors and institutions, including women, local government units, traditional leaders, civil society organizations, religious leaders, in-campus youth organizations, community-based youth organizations, and communities outside BARMM.

Elections for the members of the Regional Youth Advisory Council (RYAC) were also held. The RYAC will serve as a consultative body, advising and collaborating with government agencies on policy implementation for Bangsamoro youth. It will monitor policy formulation, recommend youth-centered agendas, and provide guidance on youth affairs to ensure the effective implementation of the Commission’s mandates.

Section 7 of Bangsamoro Autonomy Act No. 10 mandates the Bangsamoro Youth Commission to establish a consultative mechanism facilitating ongoing discussions between the Bangsamoro Government and youth organizations. This aims at effective planning and assessment of policies, programs, and projects related to youth concerns. (BYC PR Unit/KAA)