Hadja Bainon Karon (born 1953) is an empowered woman with a vision. Her struggle for the Bangsamoro homeland is as much a struggle for survival as it is for lasting and sustainable peace. She believes that peace in Mindanao can only be achieved through sincere dialogue and the delivery of justice. This means justice for the Moros, the Lumads and the Christians, and a genuine recognition of their right to self-determination. Her guiding philosophy is "Peace is love as Islam is for peace".
Hadja Bainon Guibar Karon is the eldest of nine siblings, all of whom are committed to the Bangsamoro revolution. Five of her brothers were killed in the war of liberation waged by the Moros against the Philippine government. She joined the revolution at 18, married the chief military commander of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and rose to become chair of the MNLF Women's Committee of the Central Committee. With the signing of the peace accord between the government and the MNLF in 1996, Hadja Bainon joined the Department of Agriculture as division chief and the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development as a member of the consultative assembly. She was appointed regional secretary for Social Welfare in 2002. Even after joining the government, she continues to fight for her ideals by empowering women and the youth sector. In 1997, she founded the Federation of United Mindanawan Bangsamoro Women’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative, which operates on the principle of proactive participation of women in peace building and development. The Federation helps coordinate, make linkages and source funds for livelihood and other socio-economic programs, and assists donor agencies in identifying their target groups. It has 120 primary cooperatives within and outside the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Since 1990, Hadja Bainon has attended trainings and exposure trips in the country and abroad on peace development, social welfare and empowerment. She says that she does not expect any reward for what she has done for her people because she believes that the reward will come from Allah. "For as long as I can help, I will," says Hadja Bainon, a workaholic who sleeps only four hours a day.
Federation of United Mindanawan Bangsamoro Women Multi-Purpose Cooperative Bangsamoro Women's Committee Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)