BTA Committee on Rules to endorse electoral code in the plenary
March 6, 2023

COTABATO CITY – The Committee on Rules of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority is set to present before the plenary the committee report on the proposed electoral code, which seeks to provide the structural, functional, and procedural principles of elections, plebiscites, referenda, and recall proceedings in the Bangsamoro region.

The BTA Bill No. 29, or “An Act Providing for the Bangsamoro Electoral Code in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” was approved at the committee level at 6:25 p.m. on Monday, March 6.

Prior to the committee’s approval, a series of deliberations were held, in which each provision of the proposed code was thoroughly discussed.

According to Floor Leader and COR Chairperson Atty. Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, the draft electoral code has significantly decreased after a series of deliberations. The code was reduced from 14 articles and 62 pages to 11 articles and 51 pages.

“We still commend the efforts of the cabinet on the electoral code, as well as the drafters, but as the legislative process progresses, changes, even substantive changes will happen at the committee level,” said Atty. Dumama-Alba.

The committee report will be available for signing tomorrow morning, Atty. Dumama-Alba said, noting that anyone who wishes to reserve may do so, as is their right as a committee member.

“The most important thing to remember when you sign the committee report is that you can no longer challenge it in plenary. So, we reserve that elbow room for committee members who believe they still have issues or positions to bring to the floor,” she explained.

She also mentioned that BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, as well as cabinet members, have consistently expressed strong support for them throughout the legislative process, giving them a sense of ‘oneness.’

The committee will present its report to the plenary tomorrow.

The BEC, once approved, will ensure that regional elections are honest, credible, just, and free, which will be conducted simultaneously with the national elections in 2025.

Under the proposed code, the Parliament will be composed of 80 members, with 50% representing parties, 40% representing districts, and 10% representing sectors.

Atty. Dumama-Alba said that the committee sought the immediate passage of the code to give time for the Bangsamoro people to prepare for the elections in 2025.

The COR, which is leading the BEC, has already conducted a series of public consultations in Manila, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato City, and the BARMM Special Geographic Area.

They consulted various experts and stakeholders from the Commission on Elections, election watchdogs, local government units, civil society organizations, academic institutions, religious groups, civil society organizations, and other relevant stakeholders.

The committee, she said, has carefully considered the recommendations and position papers of all stakeholders, and they are confident that they are drafting an electoral code that will benefit the Bangsamoro people.

The BEC is among the priority codes that must be enacted during the transition period, including the administrative, civil service, education, local governance, revenue, and indigenous peoples’ rights.

To date, the Parliament has enacted the administrative, civil service, and education codes. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)

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