Taking partnership to greater heights, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Sean Callahan, with Board Member John Sheid, and Sub-Regional Country Representative Kristina Brayman, met with the top officials of the Ministry of Human Settlements and Development (MHSD), the Housing Arm of the BARMM at the MHSD Regional Office, Bangsamoro Government Center, Cotabato City on November 10, 2023.

President and CEO Callahan and his team were accompanied by representatives from CRS Philippines headed by Country Representative Jonas Tetangco.

Minister Hamid Aminoddin D. Barra, with Director General Esmael W. Ebrahim led the MHSD team in welcoming the CRS officials and the productive sharing that happened during the short meeting that was followed by a Round Table Discussion (RTD) attended by representatives from some of the partner ministries and offices of the BARMM.

Minister Barra welcomed the participants and he emphasized as well the indispensability of peace and harmony between and among Muslims and Christians in order to attain peace in the world.

“We are happy for this meeting and we welcome the management and the leadership of the CRS to this meeting; the CRS has always been helping the MHSD for all these years, giving us technical assistance and invited us to visit their housing projects in Tacloban, in Zamboanga, and in Novaliches, and they have invited some of our personnel to attend international conferences to open our minds in the development of housing and communities,” he stated.

The purpose of the RTD, as expressed by CRS Technical Advisor Myla Leguro, was to provide a safe space for engagement to welcome feedbacks, suggestions, and recommendations of the participants to intensify the continuing partnership for and in the Bangsamoro as the accompaniment of the CRS’ 27 years of non-stop work for peacebuilding and development in the region. 

President Callahan underlined the importance of being bold yet humble in ensuring the upliftment of the people’s lives and the sustainability and resiliency of the projects.

“We can have great success if we work together and appreciate the work that we do together; it is working together as one for the benefit of the people,” he said.

Representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs (MIPA), Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC), and Office for Settler Communities (OSC), also shared their mandate, primary programs, and support for the continuing partnership to flourish.

After the RTD, the officials continued the fruitful conversation over the solidarity lunch prepared by the MHSD after which, a courtesy meeting with BARMM Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim, took place.