BARMM creates 32 parliamentary districts across region

Ferdinandh Cabrera

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BARMM creates 32 parliamentary districts across region

VOTE. Members of the Bangsamoro parliament vote for a measure following deliberations.


The new law creates parliamentary districts in Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, the two Maguindanao provinces, Cotabato City, and the region's special geographic area in Cotabato province

COTABATO, Philippines – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim signed a new regional law on Wednesday, February 28, creating 32 parliamentary districts across the Muslim-majority region.

Each district will be represented by an official who will form part of the 40% composition of the 80-member BARMM parliament.

Following its approval by the regional parliament on Wednesday night, Bangsamoro Autonomy Act (BAA) No. 58 was signed by Ebrahim and BARMM Speaker Pangalian Balindong.

The law completes the 80-member parliament, whose members will be elected during the region’s inaugural regional elections in 2025.

The BARMM is currently governed by an 80-member interim body, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA). All BTA members are presidential appointees, and their terms are set to end next year.

The new BARMM law created three parliamentary districts in Basilan, seven in Sulu, three in Tawi-Tawi, four each in Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, eight in Lanao del Sur, two in Cotabato City, and one in the Bangsamoro special geographic area in Cotabato province.

The enactment of the law follows the 2023 approval of the Bangsamoro Electoral Code, which provides 40 seats in the BARMM parliament to the region’s political parties, eight to various sectoral representatives, and 32 to the parliamentary districts. Members of parliament will be elected every three years starting next year.

The creation of the parliamentary districts is based on population and geographical criteria set by the BARMM. Based on the regional law, each district must be compact, contiguous, and adjacent, with a minimum population of 100,000.

Forty-seven BTA members voted in favor of BAA No. 58, with one objection and three abstentions.

Parliament Member Jaafar Apollo Mikhail Matalam objected, saying that the “configuration is very impractical.” 

Matalam, from Maguindanao del Sur, had pushed for the creation of more than four parliamentary districts in his province.

The three BTA members who abstained were Hatimil Hassan, Khalid Hadji Abdullah, and Baintan Ampatuan.

However, the majority of BARMM officials asserted that the newly approved law ensures “fair representation” and establishes “the foundational framework for the delineation of the parliamentary districts.”

“This is a bold step toward addressing our constituents’ concerns with precision and fairness,” said Balindong.

With the law approved and the 32 parliamentary districts created, BTA member and BARMM Interior Minister Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba said the region is prepared to hold its first regional parliamentary elections in 2025.

The predominantly Muslim region comprises six provinces, three cities, 116 towns, and 2,590 barangays, and is home to more than four million people. –

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