Winners of Bangsamoro Salah Jubair Essay Writing Competition Take Home Php.95-Mln Cash Prize

Façade of the of Main Building of the BARMM Government that houses the Office of the Chief Minister. (Photo: SDN — SciTech and Digital News)

Guest author:

  • MAJID NUR, Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO), BARMM

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MBHTE Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal. (Photo: SDN — SciTech and Digital News)

COTABATO CITY — Cash prizes ranging from Php25,000 – Php75,000 were awarded Tuesday, February 28, to the students who won in the “Salah Jubair On-the-Spot Essay Writing Contest organized by the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE).

The nine winners in the three categories of the writing competition took home a total of Php950,000.

With the theme “Bangsamoro Learner: A Face of Resilience and Excellence”, the contest served as a platform for junior and senior high, and tertiary students in BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) to share personal stories and examine the impact of the Bangsamoro transition period on their lives as part of the younger generation. The transition period started in 2019, supposed to be only until May 2022 but was extended to until May 2025.

A total of 700 students joined the contest but only 18 participants made it as finalists.

First placers of the contest took home Php75,000, second placers with Php50,000, and third placers with Php25,000. Meanwhile, a total of Php500,000 was divided as consolation prizes to some of the participants.

The following are the winners in the different categories:

Junior High School:

  • 1st placer: Fayeza Muizz Paniorotan (Cotabato City)
  • 2nd placer: Fiona Nicole Relucio (Basilan)
  • 3rd placer: Beulah Elisha Tarroza (Basilan)

Senior High School:

  • 1st placer: Nadira Afraa Asiri (Sulu)
  • 2nd placer: Shahanna Macalawan (Cotabato City)
  • 3rd placer: Aster -Jinn Aragones (Basilan)


  • 1st placer: Aldammien Sukarno (Tawi-Tawi)
  • 2nd placer: Sharifa Safrina Buttongah (Cotabato City)
  • 3rd placer: Al-Fatah Panginma Abdullah (Cotabato City)

“Alhamdulillah (Praise God)! I’m the champion in the Salah Jubair essay contest which I did not expect as this is my first time to join an essay writing contest,” said Aldammien Sukarno, a first-year college student from Tawi-Tawi.

“I really wanted to share, to be an instrument to express the struggles of the islanders. I’m always driven by my mantra that where we came from and how far the distance are not hindrances to dream,” Sukarno said.

He shared that he is a youth leader and president of the Tandubas Youth Association, and he is looking forward to implementing a writing project with the money he won.

According to MBHTE Deputy Minister Haron Meling, the person behind the pseudonym “Salah Jubair” is no less than MBHTE Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal. It is Iqbal’s pseudonym in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Salah Jubair is the author of two books entitled Bangsamoro: A Nation Under Endless Tyranny and The Long Road to Peace: Inside the GRP-MILF Peace Process.

“He is a man of many accomplishments, he is an accomplished writer with a credit of three or four books,” said Meling, describing Iqbal.

“He is also the Head of Information Committee of the MILF,” he added.

Minister Iqbal, on the other hand, congratulated all the winners and participants, saying “failure is not a failure by itself.”

“The champion, before he reached it, encountered many failures, so it is part of success; but see to it that you excelled,” Iqbal said. (/)

According to MBHTE, the competition received some 700 entries which was later shortlisted to 274 entries that qualified. Only 18 finalists emerged, but only 11 were able to show their writing flair in the final which was writing essay on the spot.

The competition revolved around the theme “Bangsamoro with BARMM Now”. (/)

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