MALACANANG (MindaNews / 23 February) – Men and women of the Bangsamoro in their colorful cultural attire and barong, stepped out of the elevators of the Manila Prince Hotel Friday noon, posed for souvenir photos – and selfies — at the lobby while preparing for their date with history in Malacanang, the seat of power in the country.
They were on their way to the “ceremonial confirmation” of the results of the plebiscite on RA 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the oathtaking of the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim government until June 30, 2022.
A few men and women from the minorities in the BARMM – Indigenous Peoples in the core territory in their traditional attire and settler communities in their Filipiniana and Barong Tagalog – also waited for their turn to board their buses and vans to Malacanang.
The event was supposed to have been scheduled on February 20. The guests had arrived on February 19 only to be told during the welcome dinner at the same hotel that Malacanang had reset it to evening of February 22.
Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, chair of the MILF and newly-appointed Interim Chief Minister of the BTA, wore a barong accented with Inaul — the Maguindanao weave — on the front, collar and cuff, an outfit he asked a tailoring shop in Davao to design.
This is the same shop where President Rodrigo Duterte has his suits and barong done.
Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the MILF’s peace implementing panel, also wore a barong with Inaul from the same shop. As did other members of the MILF Central Committee, the Meranaws among them wearing barong with langkit, the Meranaw weave.
Murad and Iqbal and Central Committee members wore coat and tie in the FAB and CAB signing. This is the first time they wore what MILF Central Committee member Ibrahim Ali refers to as “Barong Bangsamoro.”
“This is to to show,” Iqbal told MindaNews, that “we are Filipinos by citizenship but Bangsamoro by identity.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)