BTA-BARMM Parliament’s Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS)

The Bangsamoro Parliament is supported by the Secretariat in providing the Parliament Members with adequate, relevant, and efficient administrative and technical assistance that enables them to perform legislative tasks and responsibilities. The Secretary General heads the Secretariat and is assisted by different departments and divisions, including the Policy Research and Legal Services.

Mandate:

Under the Divisional Structure of the Bangsamoro Parliament and exemplified by the December 2020’s Resolution No. 96, the Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS) shall provide support to the Members of the Parliament—including the Parliament’s departments and division offices—with scholarly, systematic, and legal exertions of reviews, analyses, studies, and research utilizing multidisciplinary and legal approaches across legislative measures, programs, concerns, agenda, policy issues, and legal needs.

PRLS advances a research culture grounded on multiperspectivist thinking both critical and jurisprudential, including lived experiences of the Bangsamoro peoples in addressing the following focal service areas:

1. Review of MP requests on existing laws—whether in local, regional, and national—and proposed bills in the Parliament.

2. Assistance in drafting the legislative measures constituting bills and resolutions in the Parliament.

3. Review of drafts of legal documents such as MOU, MOA, contracts, among others, in relation to matters affecting the Parliament.

4. Response to policy inquiries and legal requests in matters affecting the Parliament.

5. Request for technical assistance on policy and legal matters.

6. Conduct of activities within the Bangsamoro Research and Legal Services Program.

PRLS is divided into two divisions which, upon requests of Members of and offices in the Parliament, carry and deliver specific focal service areas: the Legislative Research Division whose responsible for the conduct of research works, reviews, commentaries, and studies on legislations, policy issues, and other specific legislative concerns of the Parliament; and the Legislative Measures and Legal Assistance Division, who is task at providing the following services: assistance in reviewing legal documents and drafting legislative measures, technical assistance and legal advice to the Members of the Parliament, providing legal materials to committees on proposed legislations, and legal assistance on administrative cases.

In the pursuit of effectively performing its mandate, PRLS collaborates with research institutions and development partners in both public and private sectors for knowledge sharing, policy dialogue, and capability building. It also assists in the formulation of the legislative agenda of the Parliament and undertakes analyses of the impact of legislation, research, and in-depth studies on identified policy issues.

The PRLS team is duty-bound to uphold excellence and integrity in providing research-grounded legislations through our succinct reviews and scholarly commentaries understandable by multiple (lay) publics that are clear and devoid of legalese and academese writings.

The PRLS is duty-bound to uphold its vision, mission, and core values in providing research-grounded legislations understandable by multiple publics that are clear and devoid of legalese and academese writings.

Vision: Igniting the culture of research for the betterment of the Bangsamoro people.

Mission: To ignite a research culture is to create a significant space to homegrown ways of knowing and world-making that are grounded on multiperspectivist thinking and lived experiences of the Bangsamoro society.

Core Values: Envisaging a tolerant society for both Muslims and non-Muslims, the PRLS is guided by the esprit de corps of the “moral governance” conduit to the five immutable principles on faith, freedom, moral authority, common good, and social ethics.

PRLS department is divided into two divisions, (1) the Legislative Research Division, and (2) the Legislative Measures and Legal Assistance Division.

PRLS Legislative Research Division

The Legislative Research Division (LRD) is primarily responsible for the conduct of research works and studies on major legislation, policy issues, and other specific legislative concerns of the Parliament. This division prepares opinions, analyses, briefing papers, and other forms of research assistance in response to queries or requests from the Members of the Parliament, their staff, and other offices in the Parliament. The division also carries out necessary research and survey activities on Parliament’s areas of concern for enhancing their administrative programs, policies, and shall create reports for evaluation. Upon request by any member of the Parliament, it may also entertain confidential inquiries in line with their legislative functions.

Strategy: Use of multiperspective critical thinking and lived experiences of the Bangsamoro people.

Goal: Conduct reviews and research studies on legislative works, enacted laws, policy issues, and other specific legislative concerns of the Parliament.

Objective: Carry out necessary reviews and research activities of the Parliament’s areas of concern constituting legislative programs, policies, and evaluative reports.

Action Plan: Upon request by any Member of the Parliament, the research division office shall provide materials in aid for a multidisciplinary analysis on matters pertaining to legislative programs, concerns, measures, and policy issues.

PRLS Legislative Measures and Legal Assistance Division

The Legislative Measures and Legal Assistance Division (LMLAD) provides assistance in the drafting of legislative measures such as cabinet bills and resolutions upon request by any Member of the Parliament or review such legislative measures before they are presented to the plenary. It also provides technical assistance to any member of the committees in the preparation of proposed amendments, substitute, or consolidated bills with their legislative work. Upon request by any Member of the Parliament, the LMLAD may provide materials to committees on proposed legislations which can be brought to the attention of the pertinent committee concerning policy and legal issues to address their needs. The division also provides legal advice to Members of the Parliament, committees, officers, and staff regarding privileges, interpretation and application of Parliamentary rules of procedure, office management and employment issues to other offices in the Parliament, and interactions with the Ministries. The LMLAD may investigate administrative cases of personnel of the Secretariat and provides legal assistance and representation to Parliament pertaining to its official duties in courts and quasi-judicial agencies.

Strategy: Use of multiperspective positionality in jurisprudence and legal analysis based on lived experiences of the Bangsamoro people.

Goal: Assist in drafting legislative measures such as cabinet bills and resolutions upon request of Members of the Parliament before they are presented to the plenary, publication, and circulation.

Objective: Provides legal and technical assistance to any Member of the Parliament requesting for the preparation of their proposed legislative works.

Action Plan: Upon request by any Member of the Parliament, the legal division office shall provide materials in aid for a legal analysis on matters pertaining to legislative programs, concerns, measures, and policy issues.

To contact PRLS, email the office at barmm_parliament_research@nassef-m-adiong.com or call at +63-64-557-47-55. You may also visit the PRLS office at the Bangsamoro Transition Authority – Extension Office, 87 De Mazenod Avenue, Barangay Rosary Heights V, Cotabato City, 9600 Maguindanao, BARMM, Philippines.

Officer-in-Charge of the Policy Research and Legal Services

Nassef Manabilang Adiong is the founder of Co-IRIS (International Relations and Islamic Studies Research Cohort), PHISO (Philippine International Studies Organization), and DSRN (Decolonial Studies Research Network). He works on interdisciplinary research between Islam and International Relations (particularly, comparing Muslim governance with the nation-state system), and explores Muslim polities in Southeast Asia. He is the founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Islam in Asia (Brill Publishers), Islam and Global Studies series (Palgrave Macmillan/Springer), International Relations in Southeast Asia series (Routledge), Islam in Southeast Asia series (Palgrave Macmillan/Springer), and Islam in the Philippines series (IIUM Press). In the policy realm, he led the review of policies on Madrasah education and served as member of the AFP Civil Service Relations’ Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board. With his unrelenting academic service, he was awarded with the Centennial Professorial Chair by the University of the Philippines Diliman and conferred as Professorial Chair in Political Science and International Relations by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Officer-in-Charge of the Legislative Research Division

Hajji Moludin G. Bernan is the former head of the defunct BTA Reference and Research Affairs Division, which is now the newly constructed “Policy Research and Legal Services. The previous Reference and Research Affairs Division prepares and drafts the bill and resolution upon the Member’s of Parliament request. It provides legislative counselling to the Members of Parliament and their staff, other legislative researchers, Secretariat officials and employees of the Parliament. It is responsible for all activities relating to the library and archival services. It is the repository of all legislative records of the Parliament.

Officer-in-Charge of the Legislative Measures and Legal Assistance Division

Abdel Jamal R. Disangcopan is an attorney with more than nine (9) years of experience working in the humanitarian and development sectors and in the academe. His areas of expertise include law reform, public health and law, Bangsamoro law and related matters, and international human rights law. As a humanitarian and development worker, he previously served as Coordinator of Legal Issues for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, as Humanitarian Affairs Assistant for Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi) Response at UN OCHA, and as a Technical Assistant for Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) Recovery at WHO Philippines. He has significant experience and training in human rights, with focus on specialized rights and minority rights, and international humanitarian law, which began when he worked for the BARMM’s regional human rights commission as head of Provincial Office in Lanao Del Sur based in Marawi City in 2013. Aside from being a sought-after legal consultant in various fields of law and project management, he is also a lecturer of law since 2016 teaching undergraduate students, law students, and students of the Philippine Public Safety College and Philippine National Police Training Institute on substantive and procedural law courses.

Technical Staff Members of the Policy Research and Legal Services

Vincent L. Casil works on the interrelated studies on justice, misrecognition, and formation of subjectivities in the Philippine society. His published and presented articles span from showing the different manifestations of alienation in the Philippines to scholarly reading of Heidegger and Marx’s philosophy. As an academic, he has been teaching research courses to Political Science and Public Administration students at the City of Malabon University, where he has supervised numerous policy-related research. He was once designated as a researcher of the College of Arts and Sciences at the same institution, and he was tasked to conduct research on the areas of interest of Malabon’s local government. Aside from working on research, he also taught a course on Ethics at the Ateneo de Manila University before being part of department of Theology and Philosophy of Dela Salle-College of St. Benilde.

Abdulwahid H.G. Panganting earned his master’s degree in Asian Studies major in Southeast Asia (2020) at the Asian Center, the University of the Philippines-Diliman while he finished his bachelor’s degree in International Relations (2014) at the Mindanao State University-Main Campus, Marawi City. Wahid as he is fondly called by his close peers is likewise a participant in an international short-exchange program in Japan—the JENESYS Programme (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths) in 2014. Mr. Panganting is interested and has researched on the following issues for the past four years (2016 to date), namely: peace process in Mindanao, traditional conflict resolutions, Bangsamoro issues, and the Civil Society Organizations in Southeast Asia. The recent of which was his master’s thesis titled “The Converging Role of the Traditional Leaders and Non-Traditional Leaders in Conflict Resolutions: The Cases of the Sultanate of Marawi, Marawi City, Philippines, and Negeri Batu Merah, Ambon City, Indonesia (2020).”

Anisah U. Lingga is a graduate of Business Economics from the Mindanao State University, Marawi City. She is currently finishing her MA degree in Economics at the University of the Philippines School of Economics Diliman. She is skillful in operating various statistical software such as STATA, SPSS, MS Excel and R Programming. She is also proficient in Quantitative Analysis and Data Visualization. Her undergraduate thesis paper entitled “Decomposition Analysis of Local Revenue Inequality among Municipalities of SOCCSKSARGEN” was proclaimed as the Best Research Paper during the MSU-CBAA Research Colloquium. In the past, she has worked as Executive Assistant in the Office of Executive Secretary BARMM and has been engaged in many research projects from various non-government offices in the region. Her research focus is on development economics and is inclined in conducting economic analysis with strong policy relevance. Her motivation stems from her exposure to the sentiments of the grassroots and her aspiration of a developed and sustainable economy for the Bangsamoro region.

Mc Erschad D. Pabillan is a graduate of BS Chemical Engineering in UP-Diliman last July 2020. He is currently studying Master in Engineering major in Chemical Engineering in Cebu Institute of Technology University. His group thesis entitled “Decentralized versus Clustered Microgrids: An Energy System Study for Reliable Off-grid Electrification of Small Islands” was published in Energies last August 2020. In his extracurricular activities, he was the Vice President for Internal Relation of UP Muslim Student Association in AY 2019-2020, Vice President for Finance of UP Muslim Student Association in AY 2017-2018, and the Vice President for Finance in Philippine Institute of Chemical Engineers-Junior Chapter Luzon in AY 2018-2019. He is also a member of Chemical Engineering Society. For his work experience, he was a student assistant of UP Third World Studies Center. His research areas focus on policy recommendations regarding energy, environment, risk analysis and communication. His method includes the use of technology in policy research making, analysis, and evaluation.

Technical Staff Members of the Legislative Research Division

—– recruitment is still on-going for this division —–

Technical Staff Members of the Legislative Measures and Legal Assistance Division

Ershad Sasapan Ibba was Sociologist II of the Department of Public Works and Highways for six (6) years. Assigned at the Environmental and Social Safeguards Division, Planning Service, he was responsible for the review of various Right-of-Way/Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) documents and the conduct of public consultations with project affected families and stakeholders. He was also responsible for the conduct of the Gender and Development programs, activities, and projects of the DPWH and was a regular resource speaker on various topics on Gender and Development and social safeguards. Ershad earned his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of the Philippines-Diliman and is currently finishing his Diploma in Industrial Relations from the same university. Lastly, he believes in the importance of and necessity for intercultural understanding and interfaith dialogue as building blocks in achieving just peace. This he learned early on as a high school exchange student to the United States through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program of the U.S. Department of State. He brings this, along with other core values he has gained along the way, to his work in the public and development sector.

Ma. Christine Macalinao Bactol is a specialist in ensuring positive overall customer experience and employing customer-focused approach to troubleshooting, resolving problems and delivering superior levels of service. Armed with years of training and experience, she delivers superior levels of service, which she intends to bring to the PRLS as Legislative Staff Officer. She previously worked for the Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Office VIII for two years under the Flood Control, Social and Environment Section (formerly known as Environmental, Social and Right of Way Section) where she assisted in different road construction projects and processed the resettlement of project affected persons. She also worked as executive consultants for two private companies where she underwent communication and leadership trainings. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Tourism degree from the University of the Philippine Diliman, Asian Institute of Tourism in where she was a student-leader, having served in the student council and her various organizations. 

Airil B. Grefalda was a scholar until she earned her Bachelor of Technology Major in Food Service Management degree from the Sorsogon State University. After graduation, she served as Accounts Payable and Receivables Assistant at the Raffles and Fairmont Hotel Makati, where she also accomplished her Internship. Her internship was the first ever from the Sorsogon province to get accepted by the prestigious hotel. Airil is always passionate and seeks efficiency in her work and personal endeavors which she is excited to do as she joins the PRLS as administrative staff. She takes working in a new area as both a challenge and a learning opportunity.

Masiding D. Cornell Jr. is juris doctor graduate with a Masters degree in Public Administration. He previously served as a former senior councilor of the Municipality of Marantao in Lanao Del Sur where he was the chairperson of Environmental Protection and Ecology and Finance and Appropriation Committees. He was also the supervisor of Lake Lanao Watershed Reservation Program under DENR-EMB Region X which main advocacy was to determine the changing water quality through time and educate the Bangsamoro people on how to conserve Lake Lanao for future generations. He is a real estate broker which enabled him to learn about various community issues and make proposals on how to address them. He has great interpersonal skills which made him an expert in resolving all kinds of conflicts. 

Administrative Aide of the Policy Research and Legal Services

Musthafa Mazhar P. Ali is a recipient of Mangudadatu’s Mag-PEACE scholarship for the earned bachelor’s degree in Business Administration major in Marketing (2013-17, Cotabato City State Polytechnic College). He worked as Administrative Aide I at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region XII CCDEO (2020-2021) and as Election Assistant at the Commission on Elections in the Province of Talayan, Datu Anggal, Maguindanao.

Mujahid E. Ali, born on June 14, 1996 in Calsada in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, was a BS degree holder in Business Administration major in Human Resource Development Management from Cotabato City State Polytechnic College. He maintained a balanced equitable management between his sports, Sepak Takraw, and his well-endowed scholarship. In his post-college days, he worked as Promo Clerk at the Robinson’s Department Store and as a Contact Tracer at the BARMM Ministry of the Interior and Local Government.

Please take note that the PRLS Manual of Operations, Targets, and contextualized Code of Conduct will be uploaded here soon.

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