This year’s MHSD in-house updating has turned quarterly and it featured in its first salvo the latest developments presented by representatives from the different divisions and sections of the Ministry of Human Settlements and Development (MHSD), the Housing Arm of the BARMM, highlighting accomplishments and challenges from January to March, held at the Conference Room of the MHSD Regional Office, Bangsamoro Government Center, Cotabato City on March 27, 2024.

Bangsamoro Director General (BDG) Esmael W. Ebrahim and Salem C. Demuna, REA, Director II for Operations and Management Services actively participated during the presentations, recommending ways forward for participants’ issues and concerns presented and requesting further enhancements from the presentations.

“We really wanted to be updated on where we are now. When we update our offices, at least we see the bottlenecks and come up with solutions to address them,” BDG Ebrahim said, acknowledging that the Ministry still has more to do regardless of fasting, referencing the Bid Opening ceremony accomplished the day prior which began in the morning and ended just before iftar (a meal taken to break the fast).

“Our management cannot do this alone, so we expect everyone from the different offices, divisions, and sections in the Ministry to do their part,” he added, emphasizing the importance of initiative, sharing expertise, and admiring voluntarism.

Jumping off from the last In-House Updating facilitated by the Information and Communications Section (ICS) and Internal Planning Section (IPS) under the Office of the Minister, on December last year, the activity enhanced communication, fostered accountability, and maintained a clear and comprehensive record of progress from each division and section.

A major hurdle commonly reported throughout the presentations was a lack of manpower and equipment generally unmet due to insufficient funding. Despite the MHSD having massively raised their fund allotment for 2024 compared to 2023 to implement infrastructure projects across the BARMM, the Ministry’s proposal for additional human resource and equipment remained the same as last year, both of which were already severely disproportional to the implementation of projects since the MHSD began operations in 2019.

The presentations revealed that the Ministry continues to serve the Bangsamoro despite the lack of manpower and equipment by either doubling the time or using alternative equipment such as personal phones instead of office-issued laptops or sharing office-issued devices. More to it, the rise in projects without proportional manpower, however, lays as the foundation for belated accomplishments due to overloading.

Presenting the progress reports with the ICS and IPS were representatives from the Housing and Human Settlements Division; Environment, Land Use and Urban Development Division; Basilan Provincial Office; Tawi-Tawi Provincial Office; Legal and Legislative Liaison Section; General Services Section; Planning and Design Division; Accounting Section; and the Monitoring and Evaluation Division.

Key representatives from all the divisions and sections of the Ministry were encouraged to regularly document achievements, challenges, and ongoing works, establishing a dynamic and efficient framework, facilitating greater collaboration, informed decision-making, and strategic planning.

The major issues and concerns were then consolidated, to be presented and addressed further by the top management during the next Meeting with the Minister.