By Manuel Cayon, Business Mirror


DAVAO CITY—The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm) has officially started as the new autonomous governing body among Filipino Muslims in Mindanao as it also elected the main officers of its Parliament last week.


President Duterte on Friday, banged the “agong,” an indigenous brass metal drum, to officially mark the inauguration of the newly established Bangsamoro government.


“We were able to realize at least the part, maybe not all, but the part of what the entire country could have wished for the Moro people of Mindanao,” Duterte said.


The inauguration of the Bangsamoro government, he added, “denotes that we are a step closer to the realization of a peaceful autonomous region that serves all Muslims, Christians, Lumads and indigenous people whose home is Mindanao.”


The President also promised his administration’s full support to the autonomous region.


The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) also elected the officers of the parliament during its inaugural session on Friday.


Elected were lawyer Pangalian Balindong as speaker of the parliament, Hatimil Hassan as deputy speaker, lawyer Lanang Ali Jr. as majority floor leader and lawyer Laisa Masuhud Alamia as minority floor leader.


Balindong was the former deputy speaker of the Regional Legislative Assembly, the lawmaking body of the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Alamia was also the former Armm executive secretary. Ali served as former spokesman and, later, negotiator for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).


Raby Angkal and Dan Dimakenal will serve as secretary-general and sergeant-at-arms, respectively, of the Parliament.


During the inauguration, Barmm Chief Minister Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim led the Bay’a Qur’an or the Oath of Moral Governance, among government officials.


The members of the Parliament took their oath of moral governance before the Qur’an. “This is to ensure to the public that the Bangsamoro government is sincere in upholding good governance in the Bangsamoro region,” the Barmm Bureau of Public Information said.


Ebrahim said that “running this Bangsamoro government would be guided by the tenets of Islam through moral governance.”


“As we start the Bangsamoro government, we bound to make moral governance as the foundation of this leadership,” he said.


He said Friday’s inauguration “marks history where it signifies their start of a new kind of Jihad, a jihad against poverty, wants and neglect.”


As he thanked the President, Ebrahim also disclosed that the MILF has already submitted the complete list of its combatants and weapons to the International Decommissioning Body for the first phase of decommissioning process.