On 17 January 2022, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) celebrated its week-long 3rd founding anniversary through an opening program and “gong” banging by “Wali” (Muslim religious leader) of the Bangsamoro, Sheik Khalifa Nando, inside the Bangsamoro Government Center (BGC) in Cotabato City. The theme of this year’s celebration was “Changing People’s Lives, Transforming the Bangsamoro: Celebrating and Sustaining the Gains of Peace and Moral Governance.” 


The theme highlighted the regional government’s effort and breakthrough in achieving peace and development, reformation, and strengthening the Bangsamoro government for the past three years. In relation to this, the opening message of BARMM Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua focused on Bangsamoro’s historical milestones for the past three years. He also emphasized the significant achievements in the region like the decrease in poverty incidence, approval of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) extension, increased investment and employment rate, strengthened Halal industry development, high number of land distribution, and the approval of P79.8 Billion budget for 2022 in the region. In addition, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim urged everyone to continue the peaceful and moral governance while Parliamentary Speaker Atty. Pangalian Balindong emphasized the declined incidents of violent extremism and the presence of extremist groups in the region. Moreover, during the ceremony, the region’s Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG) turned over its Special Development Fund to some beneficiaries while the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) awarded the overseas workers for their contribution, achievements, and sacrifices for the country.


During the celebration, each ministry of the BARMM has prepared various activities for the program. According to Ameen Andrew Alonto, OIC-Executive Director of Bureau of Public Information (BPI), the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform will open its MAFARlengke (MAFAR Local Exchange and Network of Goods in any Kind of Emergency); the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) will conduct clean-up drives and distribution of land titles; the Ministry of Trade, Investments, and Tourism (MTIT) will hold free business registration; the Ministry of Public Order and Safety (MPOS) will conduct community-based training on mediation and values transformation; and the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs (MIPA) will distribute educational financial assistance to elementary students according to Philippine News Agency.


Before its foundation, the BARMM was formed and replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by the ratification of its basic law, the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) followed by two-part plebiscite in Western Mindanao on January 21 and  February 6, 2019. Before the formation of BARMM, several years of peace talks occurred between the Philippine government and other autonomist groups, one of them is the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The agreement between the national government and MILF, known as Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), occurred between the Aquino administration and the MILF representatives. The BARMM is currently on its transition period until this year but extended until 2025 by the law signed by President Duterte. The foundation of BARMM is considered as milestone of peace and development of the government and our Muslim brothers.