COTABATO CITY — BARMM Senior Minister and concurrent MENRE Minister Abdulraof A. Macacua received on 18 May a courtesy call from World Food Programme Country Director, Brenda Barton, and Peace Advisor from the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office, Melina Nathan, and discussed current and potential efforts and support exerted between the offices, especially for the ongoing ‘Kayod ka, Bangsamoro’ (KKB) Convergence of the Bangsamoro.

As publicly known, the KKB Convergence is an initiative of BARMM Ministries and Offices, particularly the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG), Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA), and the World Food Programme (WFP).

This Convergence created a development model to address food insecurity in BARMM and since then provide income-generating livelihood activities and capacity building for the partners of KKB, which is now a sub-component of the MENRE’s banner project, the Integrated Bangsamoro Greening Program (IBGP).

“Being the main livelihood feature of the IBGP, the KKB program aims to increase livelihood productivity and employs soon-to-be-decommissioned MILF-BIAF combatants as “Palaw Rangers” or vanguards that conduct forest protection activities,” Senior Minister informed the guests.

“The KKB has already been implemented in eight target model areas of the BARMM, five in Maguindanao, and three in Lanao del Sur,” he added.

WFP Country Director Barton emphasized that with the World Food Programme’s activities focusing more on handing out food bags, the agency is not a ‘hand-out agency’, but a ‘hand-up’.

“That’s the vision that we have to support the government. You make our job easy. You’re so committed and dedicated. You’re working together across Ministries,” Barton told MENRE.

“The Convergence of Ministries working together, in my view, is the key to success. You have my commitment, passion, and desire to work and strengthen the team here to help you,” she stressed.

Joining Barton during the courtesy call, Peace Advisor Melina Nathan also expressed her support for the continued partnership between and among BARMM Ministries and Offices not only on food security, but she also urges the government to converge efforts as well towards better education and health services.

MENRE Deputy Minister Akmad A. Brahim, Assistant Regional Secretary Alindatu K. Pagayao, Forest Management Services Director Abdul-Jalil S. Umngan, Chief of Planning Jessie S. Ondoy, and Chief Faisal U. Akmad participated during the discussion representing the MENRE, while Dr. Mishael Q. Argonza joined the UN guests as the Head of WFP Cotabato Office.

With the recent partnership of BARMM and WFP for the KKB project, the two parties will work to continue and strengthen its collaboration towards the fulfillment of the Bangsamoro’s vision of a region that’s food-secure.