Samira Gutoc is a former assemblywoman of the ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly and a former member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. She is an advocate for Marawi, internally displaced peoples, women and peace.
She resigned from the BTC after the imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao and President Rodrigo Duterte’s harmful joke about taking the blame for soldiers who commit rape under Martial Law.
She is the current chairperson of Ako Bakwit, Inc. which promotes the rights and welfare of IDPs, or those forced to evacuate due to armed conflict or natural disasters. She was also the spokesperson for the Ranao Rescue Team which provided relief and legal assistance to civilians fleeing the Marawi siege.
Gutoc unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in 2019, under the opposition coalition Otso Diretso slate that was trounced by administration allies.
In her second bid for senator, Gutoc vows to improve the country’s pandemic response by seeking an audit of the COVID-19 funds and pushing for wider access to health services and mass testing. She has also flagged a lack of funding for Marawi City’s pandemic response.
Gutoc is still pushing for the immediate rehabilitation of Marawi City which was battered by a five-month siege in 2017 and a framework that will protect the rights of IDPs.
She is currently seeking a Senate seat under Aksyon Demokratiko, the party backing Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso for president. She justifies the move as necessary to escape the labels attached to her after she became a guest candidate of the Liberal Party in 2019, likening it to Vice President Leni Robredo’s decision to run as an independent for the 2022 presidential race.
Gutoc supports the legalization of divorce, medical marijuana, and allowing the International Criminal Court to probe the Duterte administration’s bloody anti-drug campaign. She opposes the reimposition of the death penalty and the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
She is now in favor of pursuing a shift to a federal system of government, a departure from her previous stance as a senatorial candidate in 2019 when she said she did not believe it was time for such a change.
“Bilang crisis worker, ‘yun ang aking pinanggalingan, from the Marawi Siege in 2017 to now, lalo pang naigtingan, lalo pang napalakas ang loob dahil sa krisis pandemya. I learned that the key lessons are legislation, oversight, transparency, and accountability.”
SAMIRA ALI GUTOC
Full Name: Samira Ali Gutoc-Tomawis
Birthdate: December 19, 1974 (Age 48)
Birthplace: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Residence: Marawi City, Lanao del Sur
Languages Spoken: Filipino, English
– Candidato Gutoc, father, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia
– Bae Tomanina Ali, mother, real property developer
Spouse: Abdul Maomit Tomawis
- Master in International Studies, University of the Philippines-Diliman (2001)
- Bachelor of Laws, Arellano University School of Law (2006)
- Bachelor of Arts in Communications, University of the Philippines-Diliman
- Focal person and spokesperson, Ranao Rescue Team
- Member, Bangsamoro Transition Commission, February-May 2017
- Sectoral Representative for Women, 7th ARMM Legislative Assembly, 2012-2013
- Former member, Philippine Army Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board
- Former member, Board of Regents of Mindanao State University
- Member, Local School Board Marawi City
- Convenor, Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy
- Coordinator, Young Moro Professionals Network
Gutoc represented the women’s sector in the ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly from 2012 to 2013, the unicameral legislative branch of the ARMM government.
In February 2017, she was appointed as a member of the Bansamoro Transition Committee, which was tasked to aid in the drafting of Republic Act No. 11054, or the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
She resigned by May 2017, initially citing personal reasons and later stating that she was insulted by the president’s joke about taking responsibility for rapes committed by soldiers deployed in Marawi City and her dismay over the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, signalling a policy priorizing the fight against terrorism at the expense of civilan evacuations.
Gutoc was also a member of the Philippine Army Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board. In 2018, she called for the government to reconsider its military campaign against communist rebels and prioritize peace-building efforts.
In 2022, she had to clarify her continued opposition to the bloody anti-drug campaign after she said in an interview that it could have been the Duterte administration’s greatest achievement but for the thousands of alleged killings. During the same interview, she said the establishment of the Bangsamoro region was the Duterte administration’s greatest feat.
After the months-long siege of Marawi in 2017, Gutoc was active with the Ranao Rescue Team, a group that assisted civilians fleeing from areas of armed conflict.
Relief and recovery campaigns had to manage the urgent challenges such as mass displacement of residents, massive destruction of physical infrastructure, loss of life and injury to civilians, loss of businesses and employment, and dispossession of official documentation such as personal identification, legal titles and other civil and commercial documents. Moro leaders, RRT and other advocate organizations repeatedly called for full participation of Maranaos and Bangsamoros in the relief and rehabilitation efforts for Marawi City.
Gutoc also led a group of indigenous peoples in filing one of the 37 petitions challenging the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the provisions of which were upheld by the Supreme Court in February 2021.
As a Muslim civic leader, Gutoc has been recognized by Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim Christian Understanding as among the 500 Most Influential Muslims. She is a recipient of the 2018 N-Peace Award by the United Nations Development Programme.