BTA underscores importance of consultations on proposed Bangsamoro Electoral Code
January 30, 2023

MAGUINDANAO – With the Bangsamoro Parliament’s Rules Committee continuing its consultation, Deputy Speaker Atty. Omar Sema emphasized the significance of this process in crafting an electoral law that will govern elections in the region.

Local government units, academic institutions, civil society groups, non-government organizations, and the women and youth sector in Maguindanao del Sur and del Norte have all shown strong support for the proposed electoral code.

Atty. Sema, who presided over the public consultation in Maguindanao del Sur, said that the Parliament aspires to enact legislation fostering people-centered government and electoral processes that guarantee effective and fair representation of the people in the region.

Atty. Cyrus Torreña, the provincial administrator of Maguindanao del Sur, expressed his gratitude to BTA legislators for holding consultations on the electoral code, where they could raise their concerns and recommendations.

In Maguindanao del Norte, presiding officer MP Suharto Esmael stressed the necessity of the electoral code with the Bangsamoro region’s new parliamentary system of government, indicating “the need to develop an election law tailored to our system of government.”

“Through the electoral mechanisms, we are compelled to introduce policies that are reflective of and responsive to public opinion and promote a harmonious relationship between the voter and the candidate,” MP Esmael added.

Since the consultation took place at Mindanao State University—Maguindanao, it was able to draw a large number of youth and women.

MSU Maguindanao Chancellor Dr. Bai Hejira Nefertiti Macalandong-Limbona noted the need for holding a consultation at academic institutions where students are present.

“It will teach them that the election is an integral element of democracy where everyone can exercise their freedom to choose the leaders who will govern them,” she said.

Esmael stated that through public consultations, more people would be able to identify their concerns with the proposed code and contribute to its improvement.

The Bangsamoro Women Commission urged in its position paper that the Parliament draft the certification process for women sectoral parties to guarantee fair participation across the five provinces and Special Geographic Area.

MP Esmael said that the committee will compile all the legislative inputs and position papers and submit them to the Committee on Rules before discussing them in the plenary next month.

He also assured the public that the bill’s final form will be beneficial to the Bangsamoro people.

The Parliament has already held consultations in Manila, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City, and the BARMM Special Geographic Area with experts, government and non-government stakeholders, and watchdogs.

The BTA Bill No. 29, or the proposed Bangsamoro Electoral Code, will outline the structural, functional, and procedural principles of the election in the region, which is scheduled to be held alongside the 2025 national elections.

Under the proposed measure, the Parliament will have 80 members, with 50% of the seats going to party representatives, 40% to district representatives, and 10% reserved for sectoral representatives.

Women, youth, traditional leaders, and ulama will each get one sectoral seat, while non-Moro indigenous peoples and settler communities will each have two reserved seats. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)

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