COTABATO CITY – After a series of public consultations for the proposed Bangsamoro Electoral Code, the Committee on Rules held its last leg of consultations with stakeholders in Lanao del Sur.
The Rules Committee, chaired by Floor Leader Atty. Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, has consulted with experts from the Commission on Elections, election watchdogs, local government units, civil society organizations, academic institutions, religious groups, and other relevant stakeholders.
The Parliament Bill No. 29, or the Bangsamoro Electoral Code, is a crucial measure that will outline the structural, functional, and procedural principles for holding elections for officers in the region.
In 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte inked Republic Act No. 11593, which moves the election of officials in the BARMM from 2022 to 2025.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-led interim government, during the transition period, should enact priority codes such as administrative, civil service, education, electoral, local governance, revenue, and indigenous people’s rights.
To date, the Parliament has enacted administrative, civil service, and education codes, while electoral and local governance codes are at the committee level.
Following the extension of the transition period and the appointment of the new 80 members of the parliament, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim vowed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that the electoral and local governance codes would be enacted in the first quarter of 2023.
While expediting the passage of the proposed measure, the Parliament ensures that the electoral code will be free of any constitutional flaws and gives the COMELEC, political parties, and other stakeholders sufficient time to prepare for the 2025 synchronized elections.
Atty. Dumama-Alba said that the electoral law that will govern the parliamentary elections is unique in the Philippines.
The proposed electoral code was introduced in Parliament in September last year, during the first week of the second parliament’s session. Starting in October 2022, the committee held consultations in Manila, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato City, and the BARMM Special Geographic Area.
The committee has so far gathered 208 pages of recommendations and position papers from various government and non-government stakeholders for the proposed code.The constitutionality, anti-political dynasty, qualifications of elective officials, inclusion of women, youth, and the religious sector, among others, were some of the concerns raised by all stakeholders.
Atty. Dumama-Alba said that the committee will thoroughly discuss the proposed electoral law at the committee level, assuring the public that it will be a product of the constituents’ input and reflective of their needs.
The proposed code will ensure that elections in the region are fair, credible, and free.
With the parliamentary system in place, the Parliament will be composed of 80 members, with party representatives receiving 50% of the seats, district representatives receiving 40%, and reserved seats and sectoral representatives receiving 10%.
The Chief Minister, who is also a member of Parliament, will be elected by a simple majority vote of the members of Parliament on the first day of the session, after all members of Parliament have been elected. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)