MBHTE Mohagher M. Iqbal receive his Honoris Causa of Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration by the Cotabato State University (Photo by Tu Alid Alfonso, BMN/BangsamoroToday)

COTABATO CITY (June 17, 2023) – The Cotabato State University, upon the recommendation of faculty and staff and by the authority of the board of regents with the resolutions no.: 050 series of 2022 and Commission on Higher Education en banc on February 21, 2022 by virtue of CAB resolution no.: 093-2023 hereby confirms upon Mohagher M. Iqbal the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration with all the honors, rights and privileges, cited on the award received by Education Minister of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao during the 3rd Commencement Exercise of Cotabato State University (CSU) in this City on Saturday, June 17, 2023.

Minister Iqbal was also the guest speaker of the CSU’s commencement program with a theme: “Cotabato State University Gearing Towards Innovation and Internalization of Education”.

Here is the full speech of MBHTE Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal on the 3rd Commencement Exercise of Cotabato State University:

BI-SMILLAHI R-RAHMANI R-RAHIM

Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alameen. Assalato Wassalamu Ala-Ashrafil Mursalin, Saydina Mohammad Wa ala alihi wasahbihi Ajmain Wabaad Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatulahi Wabarakatuhu and Good morning.

My courtesies and higher respect to Nelia A. Alibin, Ph.D. CESO III; Maximo C. Alibe, Ph.D., CESO III; Sema G. Dilna, Ed. D.The President of CSU; Kundo M. Pahm, Jr., Ph.d.; Tarhata P. Solaiman-Guiamalon, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School; Members of the Board of Regents; other CSU officials, administrators, teaching and none teaching personnel; my fellow alumni, although I graduated here many, many years ago is already history but I’m proud to say that I also graduated here…friends, love ones, parents and graduates… Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatulahi Wabarakatuh.

I stand before you today as Minister of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education of the Bangsamoro Government. I am filled with immense pride and hope as I accept the conferment of Honoris Causa and as we celebrate this momentous occasion- your commencement exercises. Today, we witness the culmination of years of dedication and sacrifice.

Today, we see the birth of a new generation of leaders, change-makers, and torchbearers of progress for the Bangsamoro.

Time and again, commencement exercises serve as a reminder for all the hard work we have poured in order to come to this day. This hard work comes from the school administrators, faculty and staff, students and their parents.


I would like to emphasize “my fellow alumni” because, in case, you do not know it yet, I am a graduate of Cotabato High School which is the forerunner of this university… As to its date , I will not tell you when, so you cannot guess my age…

Anyway, age does not matter—it is only in the mind.

So you see… we share a deep bond and connection to this institution.
Who I am today was forged initially in the classrooms and playing grounds of Cotabato High School.

I applaud Cotabato State University (CSU) – your school officials, personnel, and professors – for supporting the graduates as they complete their studies despite I know, to be part of the academe, specially, the teaching staff, is not an easy job. It calls for someone’s devotion. But you still continue teaching, the reason there is because teaching is a passion. There is nothing more noble than shaping and nurturing the future generation. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing your former students becoming leaders, professionals, successful in their chosen fields, and exemplar of good behavior. This what makes the teaching profession, a noble profession.

I also commend the parents and other benefactors for choosing to invest in their children’s future. As a parent, I know the feeling of seeing your child receiving a diploma. I also know that their success today, comes with a price.

That for this cost, you have given up with some of your dreams in exchange for theirs.
As a responsible parents, I know, we will do everything for our children, we will sacrifice our personal happiness for them to be happy and for them to have a good future.

Parents… today… is your day too… you can wipe away those tears and start to paint a beautiful smile in your faces. All your hard work paid off. Your investment will definitely have a good return. I hope, I will not be asking for too much if I say…continue to encourage your children in the next phase of their lives as productive professionals, resourceful entrepreneurs, and morally upright citizens of the BARMM and the Philippines.

BARMM Education Minister and the MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher M. Iqbal deliver his message before the 3rd Commencement Exercise of Cotabato State University on Saturday, June 17, 2023. (Photo by Tu Alid Alfonso, BMN/BangsamoroToday)


To the students, I admire you for successfully hurdling the tedious home works, projects, recitations, thesis and research papers, and your school rules and strict professors. You are blessed because you are a product of CSU.

It provided you not only with knowledge but also of life-skills as a take away as you leave this comfort zone.

In the tradition that “it takes a village to educate a child”. I accept this Honoris Causa in humility and recognizing that my thinking and my work was wrought and formed by many hands – family, friends, and colleagues in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. I may not have a university doctorate but I take pride in the fact that I have a doctorate forged and hammered in the real world, on the ground where passion, creativity and resilience are tested and more seriously, on the ground laden with dangers and stakes and are very survival of our people.

Graduates, as you step forward into the world, I implore you to embrace your role as builders of the Bangsamoro Region. You are the architects of its destiny, the custodians of its heritage, and the pioneers of its future. The challenges that lie ahead may seem daunting but know that within each of you lies the power to shape a brighter and prosperous Bangsamoro.

The path you have chosen is not an easy one. It requires courage, resilience, and unwavering perseverance. You will face obstacles, prejudices, and setbacks. But remember, the strength of character is truly tested during times of adversity. It is during these moments that you must draw inspiration from the struggles of those who came before you.

These pioneers fought for our rights, identity, and rightful place in society.

Education has brought you to this pivotal moment. It has armed you with knowledge, nurtured your skills, and broadened your horizons. But remember, education is not merely a means to personal success. It is a tool for collective upliftment. It is a force that can transform not just your lives but the lives of countless others in the Bangsamoro. You have a responsibility to help our Bangsamoro communities and our people. Our people have suffered much under the pestilence of war and conflict, and we have lost so much – our communities are poor and underdeveloped.

We need to change this. We need to build a new society that is peaceful and progressive. As the saying goes, to whom much is given, much is required.

As you embark on your respective journeys, I urge you to become catalysts of change. Be bold in your ideas, innovative in your approach, and compassionate in your actions. Seek out opportunities to serve your communities, to uplift the marginalized, and to bridge the divides that still exist. Embrace diversity and celebrate the mosaic of cultures, faiths, and traditions that make the Bangsamoro unique.

I have a special request of you – use your talents and skills to make self-determination and autonomy work for the Bangsamoro. Let us create a new path for our people – a new path that is truly our own, not imposed on us.

When I was at your age, I used my education to advance our advocacy for genuine and effective self-governance and contribute to creating an enabling environment for peace, justice, and development. The commitment and sacrifices made by my peers and I led to the signing of the binding peace agreements and the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

I am not suggesting you to join a revolutionary group – Jihad comes in different form, yours is to better yourself, so you can better your condition, your family and that of others, It was a different time then, and extraordinary circumstances compelled us to act accordingly. However, you can personify the same dedication, spirit, and perseverance we showed then and still do.

You can be revolutionary in your thinking without taking up arms. Use your education to improve your lives and shape the future of our diverse, proud, and prosperous nation.

In your pursuit of progress, never forget the values that define us- the values of compassion, justice, and trust in Allah SWT. Let these values guide your decisions and actions as you navigate the complexities of the world.

Remember that true success is not measured by personal achievements alone but by the impact, you have on the lives of others.

Ecumenical Prayer, Singing the National Anthem and Bangsamoro Hymn during the CSU 3rd Commencement Exercise. (Photo by Tu Alid Alfonso, BMN/BangsamoroToday)

Graduates, you are the embodiment of hope for the Bangsamoro. I have full confidence in your abilities to bring about the change we so desperately need. I challenge you to dream big, think boldly, and work tirelessly. Your success will not be determined by your circumstances but by your unwavering belief in the potential of the Bangsamoro. And above all, Allah alone determines what was in the past, present and future.

As you go forth from this hallowed institution, always remember that you are not alone in this journey. Your parents, friends and the Bangsamoro government is ready to offer guidance, support, and mentorship. Together, we can build a Bangsamoro that thrives on peace, prosperity, and inclusivity.

In closing, I congratulate every one of you on your remarkable achievements.

The future of the Bangsamoro rests in your capable hands. Go forth and make us proud. Embrace your role as agents of change and pioneers of progress. Together, let us forge a Bangsamoro that is a beacon of hope, a symbol of resilience, and a testament to the power of education. Thank you, and may Allah help us. Maraming salamat po! Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh! (Transcribed by Tu Alid Alfonso, BMN/BangsamoroToday)

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