COTABATO CITY — A measure seeking to establish the official gazette of the Bangsamoro government has been refiled in Parliament, signaling renewed efforts to provide timely and accessible information to the public.
The BTA Bill No. 195, or the Bangsamoro Gazette Act of 2023, aims to contribute to the government’s commitment to transparency, accountability, and the dissemination of information to the people it serves.
The primary author of the bill, MP Atty. Rasol Mitmug Jr., emphasized the importance of establishing an official gazette that can be published both in print and electronic form.
The Bangsamoro Administrative Code requires the establishment of the Bangsamoro Gazette.
The previous attempt to pass this bill took place in the first parliament but remained pending until the adjournment of the session.
MP Mitmug believes that it is high time for the Bangsamoro government to publish its own official gazette, given the increasing number of internet users and the growing prevalence of electronic publications for faster and wider dissemination of information.
Atty. Mitmug, in his explanatory note, highlighted the rise in internet users nationwide due to the availability of affordable smartphones, social media platforms, and free data.
Research indicates a 67% increase in internet penetration among the total population and a significant 138.2% increase in mobile penetration.
Once approved, the Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO) will be responsible for the editorial functions of the Bangsamoro Official Gazette.
The BIO will collect subscription fees, maintain the official website and social media pages, oversee print publications in regional newspapers, and ensure the electronic publication of the gazette on its official website, which will also serve as an open-access digital archive for all published materials. Efforts will be made to post content on the internet daily or as frequently as possible.
The gazette will be published in English, Filipino, and Arabic. The BIO will coordinate with the Bangsamoro Darul Ifta’ for the translation of necessary materials into Arabic.
The bill specifies that every Bangsamoro citizen shall have access to information, official and public records, documents, papers, and research data used for policy development.
All public legislative acts, resolutions, executive and administrative orders of general application, decisions or abstracts of decisions of the Shari’ah Courts, and other documents required by law to be published will be included in the said gazette.
Provincial, city, and municipal governments within the Bangsamoro region, as well as ministries, commissions, bureaus, offices, and instrumentalities of the Bangsamoro Government, will be required to subscribe, pay, file, and properly keep the official gazette.
To ensure free and convenient access to the online repository of the gazette, the Bangsamoro Library and Archives may collaborate with local government entities, public libraries, and public schools to establish public access computers and kiosks. They will also serve as the official custodian and repository of printed copies of the gazette.
MPs Atty. Laisa Alamia, Atty. Suharto Ambolodto, Rasul Ismael, Engr. Don Mustapha Loong, Engr. Baintan Adil-Ampatuan, Eddie Alih, Atty. John Anthony Lim, Tarhata Maglangit, Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr., Dr. Hashemi Dilangalen, Atty. Randolph Parcasio, Atty. Ishak Mastura, Bassir Utto, and Ibrahim Ali have co-authored the measure. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)