The House of Representatives on Wednesday, September 15, approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to move the first regular elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) from 2022 to 2025.
A total of 187 lawmakers from the lower chamber voted in favor of House Bill (HB) No. 10121, which amends the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL). No one voted against the bill or abstained from voting.
The passage of the bill comes over a week after the Senate approved a similar measure, which extends the Bangsamoro transition period.
Similar to the Senate version of the bill, HB No. 10121 seeks to give the new president in 2022 the power to appoint 80 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority upon the expiration of the terms of the incumbent members in 2022.
Proponents of the measure have pushed for the postponement of the regional elections to give local officials more time to strengthen the foundation of the Bangsamoro government.
The pandemic has hampered their efforts, with officials unable to come up with a Bangsamoro electoral code.
A regional electoral code is necessary for the Commission on Elections to determine the allocation of elective posts for the BARMM elections, in time for the filing of certificates of candidacy on October 1 to 8.
The BARMM, with a population of over 4 million people, was established in early 2019 after the BOL was ratified in a plebiscite.
The landmark measure was enacted in 2018, four years after a historic peace deal was signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which heads the BTA. – Rappler.com