Speaker Pangalian M. Balindong shares about his struggles and triumphs as a leader and expressed how the Bangsamoro has inspired him through biography, “The Revolutionary Democrat: The Life and Times of Pangalian M. Balindong” written by Prof. Edmund Tayao. (ZSDiolanan, Publication and Media Relations Division, BTA Parliament)
COTABATO CITY — Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament Speaker Pangalian M. Balindong officially launched on Thursday, February 25, 2021 his official biography ‘book’ titled, “The Revolutionary Democrat: The Life and Times of Pangalian M. Balindong” held at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex (SKCC) lobby, Bangsamoro Government Center, this city.
Written by Prof. Edmund Tayao, the book contains a look at the life of a Bangsamoro leader that will help us understand better how leaders are made. More than just leading his people, Balindong chose to be a leading advocate of real and lasting change for his people, the region, and the country. What makes the story extraordinary is that it is so much more than leading the people, it is as much as it is integral to righting history.
In his speech, Balindong expressed optimism as he emphasized that the whole Bangsamoro became an inspiration in producing the book.
“This book is not all about me, this is a book about the truth and about the history of the Muslims in the Philippines,” Balindong stressed.
Looking back, Balindong was elected as one of the delegates to the 1971-1973 Constitutional Convention representing the lone district of Lanao del Sur where it has provided him an opportunity to embody the voice that enlightens Philippine legislators about the plight of the disenfranchised Muslim Filipinos.
In 1973, Speaker Balindong was invited by the Islamic Call Society of Libya to the Muslim Youth Conference in Tripoli to discuss the Moro Problem in Southern Philippines. It was during this time that the undivided MNLF stood up for the Filipino Muslims. Other Muslim leaders, ulama, and professionals supported the MNLF. As the international community was awakened by this genocidal campaign against the Moros, the MNLF established diplomatic status and gained the support of world Islamic leaders like Moamar Khadaffy of Libya. The MNLF soon solidified its international recognition and became an observer of the influential Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). The Philippine delegation headed by no less than the First Lady Imelda Marcos visited Tripoli on November 17, 1976. Negotiations took place in Tripoli on December 15-23, 1976.
On December 23, 1976, the 1976 Tripoli Agreement was signed in Tripoli-Libya by Defense Undersecretary Carmelo Barbero representing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and Libyan Foreign Minister Ali Abdussalam Treki and OIC representatives.
When the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was established in 1989, he ran and eventually won and held the post of Assemblyman from 1990 to 1993 and was elected as the honorable Speaker of the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) of the ARMM between 1991-1993. During his stint in the RLA, he authored Mindanao Autonomy Act No.25, otherwise known as the Regional Local Government Code; Creation of the Bureau of Cultural Heritage and several other legislations.
His people demonstrated their belief in his leadership. Thus, he was elected to Congress in 1995. He ran again for Congress in 2007, 2010, and 2013 elections and successively won, becoming Deputy Speaker of the 16th Congress.
The prolific legislator that he is, Speaker Balindong continued to sponsor vital legislative initiatives such as Republic Act No 9997, also known as the “National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Act of 2009” which was enacted into law on February 8, 2010.
This act created the NationalCommission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) headed by The Commission, mandated to preserve and develop the culture, tradition, institutions, and well-being of Muslim Filipinos in conformity with the country’s laws and in consonance with national unity and development.
Notably, he was honored by the 16th Congress with two distinctions: Award and medal for Outstanding Leadership and another award and medal for Achievement. After decades of success as a legislator and politician, he could have retreated into a private and comfortable life just for himself. However, instead of resting on his laurels, he continued to dedicate his mind and heart for the Moro cause, pouring his energy in the work for peace.
One such groundbreaking piece of legislation authored by Speaker Balindong, known as House Bill 4832 or “The Moro History, Culture and Identity Studies Act” was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives in 2014. It mandates all tertiary educational institutions to offer Moro History, Culture and Identity Studies as an elective subject, highlighting the positive relations among the tri-peoples, especially between Muslims, Christians, and Lumads.
He introduced and authored the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which was later renamed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), in the 16th Congress.
On March 27, 2017, The Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, which concluded almost 2 decades of negotiation with the MILF, was eventually signed in Malacanang Palace.
Under the Duterte administration, Congress was able to iron out contentious issues left unresolved by the 16th Congress to finally pass the historic Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL or BBL) in May 2018. Duterte signed the measure into law as Republic Act 11054 on July 26, 2018. The BOL repeals Republic Act 6734 (as amended) that created the ARMM to create a new political entity called the BARMM. The BOL was ratified on January 15, 2019. And as they say, the rest is history.
Today, Speaker Balindong continues to lead, and now serves as the honorable Speaker of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament. The Bangsamoro Parliament has already enacted some landmark laws as well as notable key legislations such as the Bangsamoro Administrative Code, Bangsamoro Civil Service Code, the Bangsamoro Regional Development Plan, among others.
Speaker Balindong has authored BTA Cabinet Bill No.37, adopted as BTA Cabinet No.6, otherwise known as “An Act Establishing a Bangsamoro Socio-Economic Development Planning System, Providing Funds Therefore, And For Other Purposes” and co-authored BTA Cabinet Bill No.17 or an “An Act Creating the Bangsamoro Pilgrimage Authority in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Defining its Powers, Functions, and Responsibilities and Appropriating Funds Therefore and for Other Relevant Purposes.”
Despite the pandemic and pockets of violence affecting the Bangsamoro region and its people, Speaker Balindong remains steadfast and unfazed. More than four decades after envisioning the future of Bangsamoro self-governance, he has finally seen its realization.
Not one to lead resting on an armchair, Speaker Balindong is very much hands-on with the new autonomous government. He urges people to “get back to work and this time, work twice, thrice, or even harder”. A persuasive statesman, he continues to enlighten and inspire on every platform, and works hard with the Bangsamoro leadership in moving all intellectual and material resources along the path of peace, inclusive prosperity and sustainable progress for the region and the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim also attended the event where he shared his admiration and congratulations to Speaker Balindong. Also in attendance were other Members of the BTA Parliament, MILG Minister Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo, Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Alonto Adiong and guests. (GALao with reports from EBBalindong, Publication and Media Relations Division, BTA Parliament)
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