CLOSE TOGETHER. The flags of the Philippine government and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) fly side by side in the Bangsamoro regional center following their hoisting during the region’s second anniversary celebration on Monday (Jan. 18, 2021) in Cotabato City. During the commemoration, officials unveil the new rescue speed boats (inset) to help the regional government quickly respond to disasters in the island-provinces of the region. (Photos courtesy of BIO-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said “genuine autonomy” has been achieved in the region as he led Monday the commemoration for the second founding anniversary of the newly-minted regional government with the hoisting of the Philippine and Bangsamoro flags.

Speaking inside the BARMM government center, Ebrahim said that “genuine autonomy” has been achieved in BARMM, even as he called on residents to support the regional government's moral governance campaign.

“We can now proudly say that we have achieved genuine autonomy that encapsulates the long history of Bangsamoro people, our sacrifices, and our shared visions for the next generation,” Murad said.

Since its creation in the last two years, Murad said BARMM has seen “an incredible number of challenges and opportunities that defined what makes of our new bureaucracy and how we can address such concerns that will ultimately benefit everyone.”

The chief minister maintained that the next level of the Bangsamoro struggle could be considered successful "if the moral governance thrives. We cannot claim success in this next level of our struggle if we will not be successful in building a real governance, which is founded on moral governance."

During the kick-off ceremonies, Murad sounded the “gong” (Muslim percussion instrument) to signify the formal start of festive events.

It was followed by the symbolic relief goods distribution and launch of regional vehicles and equipment, including a rescue speedboat, acquired to address disaster incidents.

Meanwhile, BARMM Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo also signed memoranda of agreements supporting infrastructure projects with Maguindanao provincial and town officials.

The last day of the anniversary celebration set on Jan. 21 is expected to be attended by OPAPP Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Interior Sec. Eduardo Año, Budget Sec. Wendel Avisado, and DOF Sec. Sonny Dominguez alongside Undersecretary David Diciano. (PNA)