BARMM

BARMM seeks own central elections body with enhanced powers

Herbie Gomez
BARMM seeks own central elections body with enhanced powers

IN SESSION. Members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority hold a session on September 28, 2022.

BARMM Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority will hold a series of public consultations on the proposed 14-article election code beginning in Manila on October 20 and 21

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) officials are pushing for an electoral code that would provide the creation of an elections office with enhanced powers over politicians and political parties in the special administrative region.

Based on the proposal, the Bangsamoro Electoral Office (BEO) would be established, and receive funding from the Commission on Elections. But its proponents want it to be the BARMM’s central elections body “with delegated powers” from the Comelec en banc.

Proponents of the electoral code also seek the creation of the Bangsamoro parliament electoral tribunal to serve as “the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of Members of Parliament” in the Mindanao region.

Based on the proposal, the BEO would have six bureaus under it. These include the following:

  • Party representation bureau which would oversee political parties in the BARMM
  • Constituency representation bureau which would ensure parliament members’ compliance with the region’s code, and review petitions for recall
  • Election assessors bureau which would serve as the BEO’s lead investigator and legal department
  • Provincial operations bureau which would oversee the operations of all the BEO’s bureaus at the provincial level
  • National and local elections bureau which would oversee the conduct of elections, referendums, plebiscites, and other political exercises
  • Administrative and finance bureau

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will hold a series of public consultations on the proposed 14-article code beginning in Manila on Thursday and Friday, October 20 and 21.

BARMM officials will present it to Comelec officials and representatives of election watchdogs, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders.

The BTA’s Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division said that will be followed by public consultations in the BARMM provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Cotabato City, and its special geographic areas.

Parliament member Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, the chairperson of the legislature’s rules committee, said the regional government sees the passage of the electoral code as crucial so that BARMM could hold its first elections in 2025.

Alba, who would lead the consultations, said BARMM officials want all stakeholders, and Comelec experts involved to help in refining the draft code.

BTA Speaker Pangalian Balindong said the proposed code reflects the dreams and aspirations of the Bangsamoro people and aims to ensure “honest, credible, just, and free elections” in the BARMM.

Balindong also said the proposed regional law is a BARMM priority as it would prescribe the structural, functional, and procedural principles for the election of officials in the region. – Rappler.com

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