BARMM officials are “thankful to the members of the Senate for having approved on second reading the Senate Bill 2214.”
Bangsamoro officials assured to repay with “good governance” the efforts of the Senate to reset to 2025 next year’s supposed regional elections.
The Senate approved last August 25 on second reading the Bill 2214, which is the enabling measure for the deferment to 2025 of next year’s first ever elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Muslims, and non-Moro people in the Bangsamoro region wants the 2022 electoral exercise reset to 2025 to enable a full transition from the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The transition process, which started in March 2019, was stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic.
BARMM officials and leaders of the cross-section communities in the autonomous region are optimistic the Senate will approve on third reading in next deliberations soon the Bill 2214.
The third reading is not as crucial as the second reading. During the third reading, only the title of the bill is read on the floor. Once the Senate approved the bill, it will refer the bill to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
Senator Miguel Zubiri, a Mindanaoan and author of the bill, is confident of the swift passage of the bill in both Chambers.
President Rodrigo Duterte, according to Zubiri, has reportedly certify the bill as urgent.
“We are thankful to the members of the Senate for having approved on second reading the Senate Bill 2214,” BARMM Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo told reporters Saturday.
Members of the interim 80-seat BARMM parliament, most known as the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, have also expressed gratitude to members of the Senate for responding positively to multi-sector clamor for the postponement to 2025 of next year’s elections in the Bangsamoro region.
BARMM Labor Minister Romeo Sema said Saturday the Senate’s final nod on Bill 2214 will boost Malacañang’s southern Mindanao peace process aiming to put a diplomatic closure to the now six-decade Moro issue.
“BARMM is a product of tedious peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Resetting to 2025 the BARMM elections shall make that peace process get stronger,” Sema said.
Sema is vice chairman for political affairs of the Moro National Liberation Front.
The BARMM, created via a plebiscite in February 2019, covers the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Lamitan, Marawi and Cotabato.
Resetting BARMM’s first ever elections next year to 2025 can only be possible with full imprimatur from the legislature.
“We are grateful to the Senate for having approved on second reading the Bill 2214 last August 25,” Sema said.
He said allowing a three-year extension of the ARMM-to-BARMM transition will give them enough time to approve a pending regional election code tailored-fit to the unique parliamentary configuration of the newly-created Bangsamoro.
Sinarimbo said the postponement of next year’s first regional polls will give the BARMM and the national government enough time to reintroduce to mainstream society thousands of Moro guerrillas who are now key stakeholders to the Mindanao peace process. (John Felix Unson with Antonio Manaytay)