(Photo courtesy of Office of the Chief Minister – BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) kicked off Monday the week-long celebration of its 3rd foundation anniversary at the Bangsamoro government center in this city.

The region had for its theme "Changing People's Lives, Transforming the Bangsamoro: Celebrating and Sustaining the Gains of Peace and Moral Governance" this year that highlights the breakthroughs of the regional government in achieving peace and development and reforming the Bangsamoro for the past three years.

With the observance of strict health standards, a short program was held outside the BARMM main building where Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua, and Bangsamoro Parliament Speaker Pangalian Balindong delivered their speeches.

The “Wali” (Muslim religious leader) of the Bangsamoro Sheik Khalifa Nando also sounded the gong to officially commence the week-long celebration.

“Only a limited number of guests and employees were in attendance in observance of the coronavirus disease 2019 protocols,” Andrew Alonto, director of the Bangsamoro Information Office – BARMM, told reporters in a brief interview at the sidelines of the event.

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) also awarded its overseas workers for their sacrifices and achievements.

For the whole week, each of the ministries of the BARMM has prepared activities to join the celebration.

To name a few, Alonto said the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform will open its MAFARlengke (MAFAR Local Exchange and Network of Goods in any Kind of Emergency); while the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) will distribute land titles and conduct clean-up drives.

For their part, 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.

As stated in the Bangsamoro Administrative Code, January 21 is proclaimed as the Bangsamoro foundation day and declared a non-working holiday in the region.

It is in celebration of the establishment of the BARMM in recognition of the dreams and aspiration of the people to chart their social, political, cultural, and economic destiny in the exercise of their right to self-determination, Alonto said. (PNA)