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Zamboanga City- The launching of the Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan (UBAS) and Huntahan ng mga Ulama at Liga para sa Mamamayan (HULMA) in Region IX and ARMM gained support from the barangays and interfaith leaders by formally signing the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and the Unity Statement on November 27, 2014 at Garden Orchid Hotel, Zamboanga City.

An initiative of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the UBAS is a collaboration between and among the national government, barangays and interfaith organizations to encourage active community participation among residents to be watchdogs for good governance particularly in the monitoring of government projects in  Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (ZamBaSulTa) areas.

Participants to the launching were Mufti and Uztadz from the provinces of Sulu, Basilan, and Tawi-tawi, members of the interfaith of Zamboanga City, and Liga ng mga Barangay representatives of ZamBaSulTa.

The event was graced by DILG Undersecretary for Local Government Austere A. Panadero representing Secretary Mar Roxas, Liga ng mga Barangay (LnB) National President Atty. Edmund Abesamis, Rev. Fr. William D. Quiamjot representing Most Reverend Romulo T. Dela Cruz of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga City and Dr. Aboulkhair S. Tarazon, chairman of Regional Darul Ifta, all of whom were signatories of the Memorandum of Agreement. 

Likewise in attendance Fr. Tony Labiao, representing the National Technical Working Group of UBAS; National Barangay Operations Dir. Leocadio A. Trovela, Zamboanga City Mayor Hon. Ma. Isabelle Climaco Salazar, and DILG-9 Regional Director Paisal O. Abutazil,

In her opening message, Mayor Climaco commended the DILG and the participants for coming together in pursuit of peace and harmony in diversity, stressing that people in Zamboanga City notwithstanding their different faiths, cultures and traditions are united for peace.

 She also stressed that the roles of civil society organizations and non-government organizations in advocating and promoting good governance and people’s participation at the local level have been recognized in scaling up the practice of good governance at the local level.

Meanwhile, Secretary Mar Roxas in his message delivered by USEC Panadero, said that the goal of UBAS and HULMA is to institutionalize the reforms of the Aquino administration and ensure that these reforms remain in force even after the term of the President. 

“Together, we tell them that those who cheat the people will not just go to jail, but will go to hell as well. The wrath of the people and the wrath of God will hound them to the damnation they deserve. Let us bury the hatchet of old enmities. We all believe in the welfare of our people, and let’s work together towards achieving the best we can for them. Let us work for a peace that is not just the absence of conflict, but a peace that brings prosperity to all.” he said in closing.

Aside from the MOA signing, USEC Panadero also turned-over the detailed list of Grassroots Participatory Process (GPP) projects implemented in Region IX and ARMM to the representatives from the Liga ng mga Barangay, Archdiocese of Zamboanga City and the ARMM Regional Darul-Ifta.

Signing of the HULMA-UBAS Unity Statement that vows to support reform initiatives among the participants capped the event.