Leaders of Moro adopt “battle positions” for May 2025. Bangsamoro Parliamentary elections


Leaders of the Moro people are assuming “battle positions” for the first democratic exercise, which will allow voters in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to choose who would represent them in the Bangsamoro Parliament, barely a year before the elections scheduled for May 2025.

The Bangsamoro Parliament’s eighty elected members will take their oath of office on June 30, 2025, the day the six-year transition period concludes.
The election “needs to happen to give legitimacy and accountability to officials who will be chosen by the people,” according to a recent statement made by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

During a Grand Iftar in northern Kabuntalan, Maguindanao del Norte, last month, Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. delivered the President’s message to BARMM officials.

Marcos Jr. will make his fourth trip to the Cotabato-Maguindanao region since taking office in 2022 on Monday, April 29, when he will visit Parang and Barira in Maguindanao del Norte.

The 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which was chosen by President Marcos in 2022 and then-President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019, currently oversees the BARMM. “In 2025, we no longer will have any extension to the authority, and we will conduct elections,” stated Marcos during their August 2022 oath-taking. The upcoming election has delineated political demarcations and exposed divisions within the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which presently governs the Bangsamoro after reaching a peace agreement with the government in 2014 known as the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao was abolished and the BARMM was established as a result of the CAB.

Prominent Moro figures from both inside and outside BARMM convened for separate gatherings on Saturday, April 27, with the aim of strengthening their political foundations and announcing their plans to run against the current MILF leadership in the BARMM elections.

Significantly, during these events, Joharie “Butch” Abu, the son of a MILF leader and vice mayor of BARMM’s capital Cotabato City, declared he was leaving the MILF’s political party, the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), in favor of joining the regional political party Serbisyong Inklusibo – Alyansang Progresibo (SIAP), which was established in Lanao del Sur.

A close associate of Abu’s father, BARMM Interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Murad” Ebrahim, commanded the UBJP. Abu stated leaving the party was not an easy decision, despite having been inducted into the Marcos political party, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), weeks previously.

Hadji Salik B. Abu, popularly known as “Ghazali Jaafar,” was the late Abu’s father and the MILF vice chair for political affairs. He was chosen in 2017 to lead the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which wrote the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The elder Abu, who was already unwell, passed out at the BTA’s oath-taking rituals in Malacanang. He was the inaugural BTA speaker. However, on March 13, 2019, less than a month into his term, Abu passed away.

The young Abu stated in an official statement issued on Friday, April 26, that he intended to “seek a higher position.” This statement left many Cotabato City residents curious as to whether the young Abu meant to run against his running mate for mayor of Cotabato City, Muhammad “Bruce” Matabalao, in 2022 or to seek a seat in the BARMM parliament.

Along with six other lawmakers from Cotabato City—Hunyn Abu, Marouf Pasawiran, Henjie Ali, Abdulrakim Gabby Usman, and Kusin Taha—and eighteen village chairs, Abu also took the SIAP membership oath. Thousands of locals and SIAP officials attended the mass oath-taking ceremony that took place in Cotabato City on Saturday.

 from the BARMM government in December, last year.Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, a former BARMM local government minister whose public appearances decreased following his contentious divorce, was one of those who took the oath.

During the ceremonies, Sinarimbo was presented as the president of the SIAP chapter in Cotabato City and the newly formed BARMM Special Geographic Areas, which consist of eight new towns. The BARMM Chief Minister will appoint the mayors and other officials for these towns.

A talented political strategist, Sinarimbo was well-known among his peers in the regional government. He was instrumental in the development of the UBJP until the Commission on Elections (Comelec) formally recognized it as a political party.

The former BARMM minister stated at a news conference on Saturday that SIAP is amenable to coalitions and alliances with other regional political parties, such as the UBJP, “taking into consideration the political situation and geographic spread of the region.”

Founded by Mamintal Adiong, the governor of Lanao del Sur, SIAP recently forged an alliance with other political parties, including the Bangsamoro People’s Party (BPP) and the Al-Ittihad-UKB Party.

Representative Mujiv Hataman of Basilan created the BPP, while Secretary Suharto Mangudadatu of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) founded Al-Ittihad-UKB.

“We need coalitions and alliances with other political parties in order to run a government in a parliamentary system,” stated Sinarimbo. While serving as the local government minister for BARMM, Sinarimbo engaged in a judicial battle.

Mangudadatu’s son, Governor Pax Ali of Sultan Kudarat province in the Soccsksargen area, took a jab at the BARMM leadership on Saturday, April 27, during the general convention of the Al-Ittihad-UKB Party in the town of Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao del Sur.

The Sultan Kudarat governor addressed the convention attendees, saying, “The BARMM was created to benefit only a few, not the ‘datu,’ not the chief minister, not the members of parliament, but for every constituent of the Bangsamoro region.”

Political figures from throughout BARMM were present at Saturday’s conference, he claimed, showing that “we are all ready to face voters and are not scared to have the elections.”

Mangudadatu’s comments appear to have been directed at civil society organizations associated with the MILF, who are advocating for extending the BTA until 2028, so postponing the first BARMM legislative elections until 2025.

Hataman, Sulu governor Sakur Tan, Sulu representative Munir Arbison, representatives from Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, Tong Paglas, president of the Lanao del Sur Mayors’ League, and Dimnatang Pansar, chair of the SIAP party, graced the convention. (MindaNews/Rommel Rebollido)

About The Author

Leave a Reply