Senate OKs bill resetting BARMM elections

Senate OKs bill resetting BARMM elections


By Ernie Reyes

MANILA – The Senate on Monday, September 6, approved on third and
final reading the bill seeking to reset the first regular elections in
the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) with a
vote of 15-3-1.

Senate Bill No. 2214, sponsored by Local Government Committee Chairman
Francis “Tol” N. Tolentino, proposes to move the date of the BARMM
elections from May 2022 to May 2025, synchronized with the national
elections. It amends Section 13, Article XVI of Republic Act 11054 or
the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

In his sponsorship speech, Tolentino said despite the hard work and
the accomplishments of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the
global pandemic posed significant challenges to the execution of the
priority programs and projects of the Bangsamoro government.

After holding committee hearings and consultation with stakeholders,
Tolentino said his committee saw the need to extend the BARMM
transition period in order to implement the political and
normalization efforts embodied in the Comprehensive Agreement on the
Bangsamoro.

“However, it (the committee) is also mindful of the Bangsamoro
people’s right to assert their democracy in the said region and
exercise their right to suffrage. Although the BTA has considerably
delivered some of its mandates under the BOL, there is much work yet
to be done,” Tolentino added.

Under the bill, upon the expiration of the terms of the incumbent
members of the BTA, the President shall appoint 80 members of BTA who
will serve up to June 30, 2025, or until the election of their
successors.

“This piece of legislation is a testament to our continued efforts to
maintain peace and push for inclusive growth in the BARMM region.
Peace is elusive but it is attainable,” Tolentino said.

Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri, Senators Richard Gordon,
Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Risa Hontiveros are also co-authors
of the bill.

In the House of Representatives, the Committees on Suffrages and
Electoral Reform, Muslim Affairs, and Peace, Reconciliation and Unity,
approved last week a committee report that consolidated proposals to
extend the BARMM elections. (ai/mtvn)

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