Bangsamoro Parliament Floor Leader Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba Vows Expeditious Passage of BARMM Electoral Code

BARMM Parliament
Credit: BARMM Parliament


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COTABATO CITY — Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Floor Leader Atty. Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba vowed to expedite the passage of a bill seeking to establish an electoral code for the region.

Bangsamoro Parliament Floor Leader Atty. Bai Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba. (Photo: SDN — Scitech and Digital News)

The BTA is doubling down on the enactment of the code in keeping with the commitment of Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Al-Hajj Murad” Ebrahim to have it approved by the first quarter of 2023.

While expediting the passage of the proposed measure, the Parliament wants to ensure that the electoral code would be free of any constitutional flaws.

BARMM Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua (right) and Parliament Deputy Speaker Atty. Nabil Tan. (Photo: SDN — Scitech and Digital News)

The Parliament’s Committee on Rules has started holding the public consultations in Manila on Thursday, October 20, with experts and resource persons from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and Bangsamoro legislators from the House of Representatives who representatives to present their respective positions on BTA Bill No. 19, An Act Providing for Bangsamoro Electoral Code (BEC) for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim”.

Parliament Floor Leader Atty. Bai Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba and Minister of Parliament Mohagher M. Iqbal in a light moment in yesterday’s public hearing. (Photo: SDN — Scitech and Digital News)

Committee on Rules Chairperson Dumama-Alba emphasized the importance of holding public consultations to refine the draft electoral code.

According to her, the electoral code that will govern the region’s parliamentary elections is new in the Philippines.

Dumama-Alba noted that the passage of such legislation is crucial because BARMM has a parliamentary form of government, which is not the case for the rest of the country.

She said that the rationale for holding public consultations is to facilitate wider participation in legislation and policy-making processes.

She also stated that it would provide the government with a better opportunity to take the most beneficial stance for the Bangsamoro people.

“The conduct of public consultations as part of the legislative requirement is important as it engenders transparency and accountability in the process of legislation and provides space for stakeholders and the public in general to participate,” she said, noting that they are adhering to their commitment to enact the code by the timeline already announced.

Parliament Deputy Speaker Atty. Nabil Tan said that getting expert insights and engaging with all sectors of the community is necessary because they will be active participants in the election.

He added that the code would set the tone for the 2025 elections and provide parameters for the regular parliament elections.

Among the most urgent laws that the BTA must pass before the end of the transition period is the BEC of 2022, which will prescribe the structural, organizational, and procedural rules for the election of regional officials.

The proposed measure seeks to guarantee that elections are fair, open, and reflective of the true will of the electorate in the region.

Unless reset for the second time, the first regular election for the Bangsamoro Government under the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) shall be held and synchronized with the 2025 national elections.

The rules committee is also calling for position papers in order to solicit feedback on the proposed code.

Another round of public consultation will be held today, October 21, with election watchdogs and civil society organizations invited to voice their positions.

The first public consultation for the Bangsamoro Electoral Code (BEC) on its second day today, Friday, at Crown Plaza Galleria, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Metro Manila. (Photo: SDN — Scitech and Digital News)

Comprising the Bangsamoro region are the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as the Special Geographic Area (SGA) made up of 63 barangays or villages in North Cotabato.

BARMM abolished and replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) through the BOL to implement the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) forged by the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after 17 years of protracted peace talks often derailed by either major fighting or skirmishes.

The BTA is the interim government of the region during the transition period.(LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division) — (✓)

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