COTABATO CITY – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon urged his colleagues in the chamber to speed up the passage of the legislation that would extend the transition period in the Bangsamoro until 2025 “to provide stability in the region.”
“We cannot bungle and mess up with what is otherwise a simple postponement of the BARMM election. Let us not complicate things,” Senator Drilon said.
He also backed Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri’s proposal to maintain the current composition of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority by eliminating Section 2 of Senate Bill 2214, which outlined how the 80 seats are allotted to various representatives.
“Correct me if I am wrong, but my reading of my colleagues within the chamber is that everyone would have agreed to have the elections postponed to achieve the aspirations of peace, unity, genuine autonomy, and the development of the BARMM region,” he added.
Sen. Zubiri proposed simplifying the bill by including only the provision postponing the first regular elections in the BARMM from May 2022 to May 2025.
“With that, I think we can have [the] law passed within the next two days,” Sen. Drilon said.
The interest of the Bangsamoro region and the country, he said, is best served by extending the BTA’s existence and resetting the BARMM elections to 2025.
Sen. Drilon noted that in 2012 the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Republic Act 10153 or the bill that synchronized elections in the ARMM with national and local elections at the time.
“Para sa mga kasamahan ko po wag na tayong mag-alala because we have sufficient legal basis to postpone the elections,” he explained.
While the proposed bill is still in the period of interpellation, Senator Francis Tolentino, the measure’s sponsor, has already provided a “cleansed version of Section 2” in the hopes that the intent will dispel the false information that sprouted last week.
Section 2 of the proposed bill as read by Sen. Tolentino is “During the extension period the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, led by Moro Islamic Liberation Front and without prejudice to the participation of the Moro National Liberation Front and its membership, shall continue the interim government in the BARMM provided that the BTA shall prioritize its mandated duties under Section 4, Paragraph A of Article 16 of RA 11054.”
Under the proposed bill, members of the BTA will be composed of the following:
41 members from MILF;
Six (6) members from MNLF;
21 members from the BARMM LGUs, namely two (2) from Basilan, five (5) from Lanao del Sur, four (4) from Maguindanao, two (2) from Tawi-Tawi, four (4) from Sulu, one (1) member each nominated from the cities of Marawi, Cotabato, and Lamitan and barangays in North Cotabato;
Two (2) members each nominated by Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples;
Two (2) members from settler communities; and
One (1) member each from women, youth, traditional leader and Ulama.
Sen. Tolentino, for his part, underlined that the BARMM could not hold elections without the Bangsamoro Electoral Code and determination of the parliamentary districts.
“The job that we have right now is to lay the foundation for orderliness beyond 2022 to achieve a certain measure of approximation and certainty to achieve the purpose of the Bangsamoro Organic Law,” he said.
(Publication and Media Relations Division, BTA)
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