Mohagher M. Iqbal is the first Minister of the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)
Minister of Basic, Higher, Technical Education (and Madaris) Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)
Mohagher M. Iqbal is the nom de guerre of one of the leading figures in the Government of the Philippines (GPH)-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Process and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). For the past fifty years, Min. Iqbal has tirelessly advocated for the realization of the Bangsamoro’s right to self-determination as well as peace and development in Mindanao. He currently serves as Minister of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE). Min. Iqbal hails from Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao province. He studied in the Manuel L. Quezon University in Manila where he received his Bachelor of Science degree, Major in Political Science and Minor in History 1969 and Master’s degree in Political Science in 1972 (Thesis: “The Muslim Secession Movement in the Philippines”). He was granted several scholarships during his university days. After graduating from college, he joined the Moro National Liberation Fron (MNLF) in September 1972, initially as a foot soldier and later as Chair of the Committee on Propaganda of the Kutawato Revolutionary Committee. In 1977, he and other former MNLF leaders founded the MILF.
He serves the MILF in various capacities, notably as a member of the Central Committee, Chair of the Committee on Information (since 1979), MILF’s Chairman for Peace Implementing Panel (since July 29, 2003). Previously, he served as chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) from 2013 to 2016 that crafted the first Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) under the Aquino Administration.
He was a member of the second iteration of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (2016 to 2019). In addition to his role as Education Minister, he is a member Bangsamoro Transitional Authority and more recently, the Bangsamoro Interim Chief Minister appointed him as Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Body for the side of the BARMM. He also has experience working with the international community and peacebuilding organizations, especially those part of the peace process architecture. As MILF Peace Panel Chair, Min. Iqbal supervises various mechanisms supporting the peace process, from the Joint Cessation of Hostilities mechanism to the Normalization bodies. He has chaired significant bodies such as the Consultative Committee of the UN-World Bank Facility for Advisory Support for transition Capacities (FASTRAC). Now as Education Minister, he co-chairs the Education Pathways to Peace in Mindanao Steering Committee together with representatives from the GPH Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Australian Government.
An avid reader and a perceptive writer, Min. Iqbal wrote three books. Under the pen name Salah Juabir, he authored “Bangsamoro: A Nation Under Endless Tyranny,” and “The Long Road to Peace: Inside the GPH-MILF Peace Process.” The third book, “Negotiating Peace: An Insider Perspective of the Bangsamoro Struggle for self-Determination,” is a collection of Min. Iqbal’s speeches from 2005 to 2018.
While he still considers himself as a revolutionary, Min. Iqbal is recognized for his work as both MILF’s chief peace negotiator and peacebuilder in Mindanao. He is a recipient of the Fr. William F. Masterson SJ Award by Xavier University in recognition of his service to the mission of building a society of justice, peace and compassion during its Commencement Exercises on March 26, 2015. He is also a recipient of Peace Weaver Award, given during the Mindanao Week of Peace 2012 in Zamboanga City, and the GAWAD AKAP of Rotary Peace Awards last February 27, 2019, at Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City. Last April 6, 2019, Minister Iqbal received the Presidential Award for Peacebuilding in Mindanao from the Ateneo De Davao University, Davao City.