BARMM adopts official flag as region’s first law

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangsamoro parliament has passed the region’s first law: an act adopting the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) official flag.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), on Friday, August 23, passed Bangsamoro Autonomy Act No. 1 adopting a Bangsamoro flag that embodied its people’s “identity, history, heritage, struggles, and aspiration.” 

The Bangsamoro flag has 4 colors, a crescent, a seven-rayed star, and a kris. 

The top third of the flag is green, symbolizing Islamic teachings and principles that the majority of the BARMM population adheres to.  

The middle part is white, representing grace, sakina or tranquility (sakina is a principle in the Qur’an), and righteousness. 

The bottom third is red, harkening back to fallen mujahideen – or those who had fought for the long-sought autonomy of the Bangsamoro. 

The crescent with a seven-rayed star in its center foregrounds the flag’s middle. The crescent symbolizes principles that guided the Bangsamoro people who had fought for self-determination. 

The star's 7 rays, meanwhile, represent the 7 provinces and cities that are part of the region: Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi-tawi; the cities of Marawi, Lamitan, and Cotabato; as well as the 63 barangays that were previously part of North Cotabato.  

Finally, below the crescent, is a kris or a traditional Moro sword, stands for protection and resistance, remembering the Bangsamoro and other indigenous people’s history of fighting against “oppression, tyranny, and injustice.” (READ: Now that Bangsamoro law is ratified, what comes next?)

The law requires all Bangsamoro offices, public and private schools, colleges and universities, public offices, government-owned or controlled corporations, and other government instrumentalities to display the new flag. 

The region’s new emblem may also be used in ceremonial and symbolic functions, and be reproduced in small sizes if used for this purpose.  

This law comes after months of deliberations of the BTA, which held its first session on March 29, the same day that the BARMM was inaugurated. There are at present 76 BTA members, all appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte. They are led by Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim (real name Ahod Balawag Ebrahim). – Rappler.com