Basilan stakeholders show support for the proposed Bangsamoro Electoral Code
December 5, 2022

ISABELA CITY, BASILAN — To ensure that the voice of the Bangsamoro constituencies is reflected in the proposed electoral code, the Bangsamoro Parliament kicked off simultaneous public consultations in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

The public consultations in different island provinces allowed all relevant stakeholders to share legislative input and recommendations that will strengthen and improve the proposed code.

To better understand the proposed code, the Committee on Rules presented the salient features of the 14-article code filed by the Government of the Day.

Deputy Speaker Atty. Laisa Alamia said that the Parliament is going around the country to consult all the stakeholders on Parliament Bill No. 29, or the Bangsamoro Electoral Code.

The electoral code, as defined in the proposed measure, will prescribe the structural, functional, and procedural principles for the elections of officers within the Bangsamoro region.

“We will eventually use the code in the 2025 elections, which will be the first time in the history of the Philippines, that’s why it is important that all your opinions be taken into consideration by this committee,” said Alamia.

In Basilan province, hundreds of provincial and local government officials, members of academe, civil society organizations, and non-government organizations have voiced their support for the proposed electoral code, reiterating that it should be free from legal issues and provide equal and fair representation of the Bangsamoro people.

“With my fellow public servants, we will be able to do our part and contribute our knowledge to make this Bangsamoro Electoral Code, in consonance with our constitution and existing laws, free from legal issues and to give equal and fair representation of our people composing our Bangsamoro region,” said Basilan Vice Governor Yusop Alano.

“After today, this electoral code would gain teeth, making it more effective, and better structuring the provisions,” Alano added.

Representing the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Basilan province, Nasser Amin Asarul also backed the proposed code during the public consultation, citing all his recommendations to enhance the proposed code.

Alsayd Masmun, representative of the Tipo-Tipo Tongtambisan Youth Organization, said that he has always wished to exercise his right to suffrage without jeopardizing the future of his generation.

“We, the youth organization in Basilan, believe that this Bangsamoro electoral code will provide a new face for a peaceful election and would grant progress in the Bangsamoro land,” he added.

Among the concerns raised during the public consultation in Basilan were the constitutionality of the bill, the establishment of the Bangsamoro Electoral Office, and anti-political dynasties.

Floor Leader and Committee on Rules Chair Atty. Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba emphasized that the proposed measure is free of constitutional infirmities.

“We really appreciate the suggestions and recommendations of all the participants, as they will strengthen the proposed code,” Dumama-Alba said, adding that all the recommendations and position papers will be deliberated upon by the committee.

The committee has already held a series of public consultations in Metro Manila with the government and non-government stakeholders, as well as election watchdogs and civil society organizations.

Another round of public consultations will also be held in Cotabato City, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Special Geographic Area on the third week of December.

Under the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority — the interim government of the Bansgamoro region —should enact the priority codes such as the Bangsamoro Electoral Code, Bangsamoro Local Governance Code, Bangsamoro Civil Service Code, Bangsamoro Education Code, Bangsamoro Revenue Code, Bangsamoro Administrative Code, and Indigenous People’s Rights.

To date, the Parliament has approved the administrative, civil service, and education codes.

BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim vowed to expedite the passage of the electoral code, aiming for its enactment by the first quarter of 2023. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)

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