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HomeThe RegionNorthern MindanaoOnly 16 women out of 98 in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority but...

Only 16 women out of 98 in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority but powerhouse cast

Laisa Masuhud Alamia, 47, was ARMM Executive Secretary (the first and only woman to hold that post in the 28-year old ARMM) while serving concurrently as Minister of Social Welfare and Development. As alter ego of the Regional Governor, she exercised overall supervision over all departments and agencies in the region as well as special programs of the Office of the Regional Governor.

A human rights lawyer, Alamia served as legal counsel, pro bono, to Moro victims of human rights violations and was the first chair of the ARMM’s Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC), her seven-year term cut short when she was named ARMM Executive Secretary. Before RHRC, she had served as OIC-Regional Human Rights Director of the Commission on Human Rights – ARMM Regional Office and before joining the ARMM, was Program Manager of Nisa Ul-Haqq Fi Bangsamoro (Women for Justice in the Bangsamoro) and Project Coordinator of Bangsamoro Lawyers’ Network.

Alamia is also a member of the global Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE) and part of WISE’s Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council which issues informed and religiously-grounded opinions on controversial issues of particular relevance to Muslim women, such as Female Genital Cutting, Adoption and the Care of Orphans, Women’s Religious Leadership, and Child Marriages.

She was a consultant on human rights, gender, Islam and women’s rights, local governance, conflict resolution and peace-building, international humanitarian law, research and advocacy, and policy reform.

She graduated Valedictorian in Elementary, High School and College. Complying with her “family’s wish,” she took up nursing at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, graduated Cum Laude and Class Valedictorian, became a registered nurse, worked in the Intensive Care Unit in a hospital in Saudi Arabia for two years but returned home to “do what I wanted” — take up Law at the Western Mindanao State University in Zamboanga City.

Alamia hails from Basilan but spent several years in the cities of Zamboanga and Cotabato. She was elected Minority Leader during the inaugural session of the BTA on March 29.


Baintan Adil Ampatuan, 49, a multi-awarded public servant, was Executive Director of the Regional Planning and Development Office of the ARMM, and served in concurrent capacities as OIC District Engineer of the Maguindanao 1st Engineering District of the ARMM’s Department of Public Works and Highways;  and Project Manager of the ARMM-Humanitarian and Development Assistance Program-Project Management Office under the Office of the Regional Governor.


She is a graduate of Civil Engineering at the Notre Dame University in Cotabato City and finished her Master in Professional Studies-Development Management degree, major in Public Affairs Management at the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, North Cotabato.  She is a Maguindanaon based Cotabato City.


Susan Anayatin, 66, was a member of the BTC from 2017 to 2019, representing settler communities, the same representation she carries under the BTA.

She has a PhD in Peace and Development and as professor, taught at the Notre Dame University in Cotabato City, Cotabato City State Polytechnic College, and at the Army’s 6th Infantry Division Training School. 

Anayatin had earlier served as chief of the Technical Management Service of the ARMM’s Department of Trade and Industry, chair of the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) in Cotabato City and a member of the Gabriela Cotabato City chapter.


Muslima Abubakar Asmawil, 39, calls herself a “multi-tasker.” She has worked as community organizer, cashier and community field officer of the Bangsamoro Development Agency. The MILF nominated her in lieu of her ailing father, a Front Commander of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces. Her husband is a police officer.

She is based in Basilan.


Anna Tarhata Sumande Basman, 32, was still finishing law at the University of the Philippines’ College of Law when she was recruited by her professor and college dean, Mario Victor Leonen, then chair of the government peace panel negotiating with the MILF, to be a member of the panel’s legal team. She was Research Associate from 2010 to 2012. She headed the team from 2013 to 2016.


She went to the Durham University in the United Kingdom in 2016 to 2017 under the Chevening Scholarship Programme where she finished with a Distinction

mark in Islamic Political Economy, Islamic Management, Islamic Banking and Finance, Risk Management Issues in Islamic Finance, Islamic Accounting, and Islamic Law and Financial Transactions; and a Merit mark in Islamic Capital Markets.

Her dissertation was “Islamic microfinance as a tool for post-conflict economic recovery: Exploring a model framework for the Bangsamoro in Mindanao, Philippines.”

Before her appointment at the BTA, she was legal consultant of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission from January to December 2018; and was Deputy Executive Director of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos from March to September 2016 before leaving for the United Kingdom scholarship.

Basman finished BA in Public Administration also at UP Diliman and moved over to the College of Law where she graduated in 2011 with a Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence,  Rank 10  of the graduating class. She became a lawyer in 2012.

She hails from Lanao del Sur but has been based in Manila.


Maleiha Bajunaid Candao, 52, is a writer, a former newspaper columnist and later publisher of the now defunct Mindanao Kris community paper in Cotabato City.


From 1990 to 1993, she served as Executive Director of the Office on Cultural Affaris of the ARMM at the time her father, Zacaria, was the first ARMM Governor. Among the things she did as Executive Director was to produce and direct “Sangkultura,” which was aired Sundays for three years. She described “Sangkultura”  as “the very first Television program in Central Mindanao that showcased the distinct cultures of the people in the ARMM- the Tausugs, Maranaos, Maguindanaons and the highlanders”


She was educated in Catholic schools in Cotabato City (Notre Dame University),  Davao City (Ateneo de Davao University) and Manila (Trinity College of Asia) where she finished AB Psychology, minor in Political Science.


She has masteral units in Public Administration, “with emphasis on strategic planning, control, and coordination” from the Ateneo de Davao. She is from Cotabato City.

Raissa Herradura Jajurie, 52, made history in July 2011, along with Bai Cabaybay Abubakar,  President of Shariff Kabunsuan College in Maguindanao, for having been named advisers to the all-male MILF Peace panel.

At that time, the MILF’s decision to take in women advisers was apparently in response to criticisms that it reconstituted yet another all-male panel.

As the talks progressed, Jajurie served as alternate panel member and steered the Technical Working Group on Wealth-sharing for the MILF.

She was named member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission from 2013 to 2016 and 2017 to 2019. 

From 1987 to 2011, Jajurie, worked full-time as labor organizer, researcher, trainer, and lawyer for non-government organizations, providing labor organizing and legal assistance to women, local communities, and marginalized sectors and identities. A human rights lawyer, she headed the alternative law group, Saligan Mindanaw.

Jajurie finished Political Science at the Ateneo de Manila University and Law as the University of the Philippines. She hails from Sulu but has lived in Manila, Davao and has been based in Cotabato City since 2012.

Hadja Bainon Guiabar Karon,  66, is an icon among the Bangsamoro women. (see description at the start of this piece).

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