COTABATO CITY–The Ministry of Labor and Employment led the Bangsamoro Labor Day celebration on Wednesday, May 1, at the OCM Grounds, within the Bangsamoro Government Center, in this city.

The celebration, themed “Manggagawang Bangsamoro, Katuwang sa Pag-Asenso Tungo sa Bagong Pilipinas,” commenced with an early morning parade.

BARMM ministries, offices, agencies, other government agencies, wage board members, private establishments, workers associations, overseas Bangsamoro workers, and jobseekers lined up to participate in the celebration.

Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, who graced the activity, honored the significant contributions of the labor force, recognizing the invaluable efforts of Bangsamoro workers in contributing to socio-economic progress in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

He further urged all employers and authorities to prioritize the health and welfare of Bangsamoro workers, especially in these trying times.

“Pagpupugay sa lahat ng manggagawang Bangsamoro!” he concluded.

Labor Minister Muslimin G. Sema warmly welcomed the esteemed guests and participants, affirming the Bangsamoro Government’s commitment to providing inclusive and decent employment opportunities for Bangsamoro through initiatives of the Labor Ministry.

In addition, Labor Minister Sema highlighted various actions the Ministry is taking to improve the working conditions of Bangsamoro workers, such as labor inspections, information drives on general labor standards, the release of new minimum wage orders in the region, different programs for informal sectors and overseas Bangsamoro workers, and financial assistance programs for qualified beneficiaries.

Minister Sema encouraged all sectors to unite and be prepared for any challenges, emphasizing the importance of solidarity.

“Kaya naman, hinihikayat ko ang lahat ng sektor na magkaisa upang mas maging handa sa ano mang hamon at gawing sandata ang katatagan ng bawat isa sapagkat sa Bagong Pilipinas, walang manggagawang Bangsamoro ang maiiwan,” the Minister said. 

“Mula sa Bangsamoro Government, isang matibay na pagsaludo at taos-pusong pasasalamat!,” he emphasized.

Messages from labor, management, and government representatives were delivered by members of the Bangsamoro Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board: Engr. Jonathan Acosta, Atty. Anwar Malang, and Hon. Abuamri Taddik, respectively.

Beneficiaries of programs like the Bangsamoro Rural Employment through Entrepreneurial Development (BREED) Program, Bangsamoro Integrated Livelihood Program (BILP), and Bangsamoro Internship Development Program (BIDP) received financial assistance and stipends during the kick-off ceremony.

Moreover, Ms. Armalyah I. Macasasa, a nurse from the United Doctors Hospital of Cotabato City, was named “Huwarang Manggagawa” in this year’s Bangsamoro Labor Day. Along with a plaque of recognition, she received a financial grant worth P15,000 as the distinguished honoree.

As the kick-off ceremony concluded, Bangsamoro workers from the government, labor, and management sectors were invited to a boodle fight meal, celebrating Bangsamoro Labor Day with joy, solidarity and inclusivity. 

As a highlight of the annual celebration, a job fair was held simultaneously in Cotabato City and the Province of Tawi-Tawi. Out of 2,180 job vacancies, thirty-seven (37) job seekers were hired on the spot (HOTS).

In interviews with some HOTS job seekers, best friends Ms. Monaira Benito and Ms. Esnaira Madsig expressed their excitement as they both secured employment that day. Transitioning from aspiring jobseekers to successful new hires, Benito and Madsig conveyed their heartfelt gratitude for the efficient and accessible employment opportunities provided during the job fair.

As a tribute to Bangsamoro workers, various activities and services were offered, including free legal consultation, wage consultation, free self-care services, and skills development training for overseas Bangsamoro workers.