COTABATO CITY – The regional parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) approved the electoral code on the third and final reading on Wednesday, March 8.
The electoral code is tailored-fit to BARMM’s parliamentary government covering the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi and the cities of Cotabato, Marawi, and Lamitan.
The measure was approved by the members of the 80-member BARMM regional parliament at almost midnight on Wednesday.
The creation of BARMM in 2019, replacing the then 29-year Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), is a result of 22 years of peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
BARMM’s chief minister, Ahod Ebrahim, who is chairperson of the MILF’s central committee, immediately signed into law the electoral code after 64 members of the 80-member regional parliament present in Wednesday’s session voted unanimously for its approval.
Members of the Bangsamoro parliament, among them the physician Kadil Sinolinding, Jr, Romeo Sema, and the lawyers Suharto Ambolodto and Paisalin Tago, separately told reporters on Thursday the code underwent extensive consultations on the intricacies and ramifications of the electoral code prior to its approval on third and final reading.
The electoral code is a requisite for the 2025 first-ever regional polls in the Bangsamoro region, according to Sinolinding.
Tago said they have also consulted the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during their deliberations on the measure, introduced more than two years ago.
“We are thankful to the provincial, municipal, and city officials in BARMM for supporting the consultations on this measure in months past,” Tago said.
Sinolinding said the electoral code is essential to the “good governance objectives” of the still four-year-old Bangsamoro government.
“This is something so important to us because this, in essence, is related to efforts of putting political and diplomatic closure to the decades old Moro quest for self-governance,” Sinolinding, who had served as regional secretary of the now defunct ARMM, told reporters Thursday morning.
Ebrahim, who, as regional chief minister, is at the helm of the 80-member Bangsamoro parliament, said he is grateful to all sectors and the Comelec for helping them craft the regional electoral code.
Bangsamoro Labor Minister Muslimin Sema, who is chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), said he and other MNLF officials were happy with the passage of the regional electoral code. (JOHN UNSON)