BARMM Parliament Appoints New Ceremonial Head, Sheik Muslim Guiamaden

Cotabato City, Philippines – The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) has appointed Sheik Muslim Guiamaden as the new “wali,” or ceremonial head, of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The resolution was passed during a special session presided over by Deputy Speaker Omar Yasser Sema on Monday afternoon.

According to Philippines News Agency, a foreign-educated Islamic preacher, received unanimous support from the 80-member regional parliament for his appointment. As “wali,” his responsibilities will include inaugurating parliament sessions, administering oaths of office, and attending public events. Additionally, the “wali” possesses significant authority, such as the power to dissolve the parliament on the advice of the BARMM chief minister following a vote of no confidence against the regional government and to call for new elections.

Born on September 20, 1963, in Buluan, Maguindanao del Sur, Guiamaden graduated from Jamiah Islamiyah of Madinah Munawwara. His career includes service at the Shariah Supreme Court in Camp Abubakar Assidiq, the former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) stronghold in Maguindanao del Norte, and military training in Pakistan. Guiamaden recently represented the MILF at an international event in Qatar discussing issues concerning Muslims in the southern Philippines.

Guiamaden’s nomination followed the endorsement of Dr. Muhammad Nadzer Ebil, who withdrew his nomination and expressed support for Guiamaden. Under the provisions of Republic Act 11054, which established the BARMM, the “wali” serves as the ceremonial head of the Bangsamoro within the Philippines for a fixed term of six years.

Guiamaden succeeds Sheik Khalifa Nando, the first “wali” of BARMM and a founder of the MILF, who passed away on February 6, 2023, at the age of 82. Guiamaden is set to open the regular session of the parliament at the BARMM government center in Cotabato City on May 14.