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GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – The interim parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) resumed its session on Monday, May 15, after a month-long Ramadan break, with an objective to pass the governance and revenue codes of the region, along with a proposed P1-billion revolving fund.
Parliament Bill No. 41, known as the Bangsamoro Revolving Funds Act of 2023, has received approval from the Bangsamoro Transition Authority’s (BTA) finance, budget, and management committee.
If enacted, the bill will set aside a P1-billion revolving fund to address delayed salaries of employees and contractual workers, ensuring timely receipt of benefits and other remunerations.
BARMM interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim addressed the parliament, and said at least 21 proposed regional laws need to be passed before the end of the transition period and ahead of the 2025 elections.
The regional government’s priority proposals include the transfer of the BARMM seat of government and parliamentary redistricting.
Ebrahim said the regional government aims to finalize and approve the region’s Local Governance Code and Bangsamoro Revenue Code before 2023 ends.
The regional government’s legislative agenda also focuses on enhancing medical services, education, strategic infrastructure, and social services throughout the region. The plan involves building and upgrading hospitals, creating additional health infrastructure, providing comprehensive medical assistance, and constructing more schools.
Ebrahim’s list also includes a Bangsamoro budget system, parliamentary seat redistricting, creation of municipalities in the Special Geographic Area, Bangsamoro investment code, Bangsamoro labor code, and a Bangsamoro Code of Muslim Personal Laws.
BARMM interim Speaker Pangalian Balindong expressed confidence that priority codes and crucial legislation would be passed before the end of the regional legislature’s second session in February 2024. Balindong, along with Ebrahim, led the opening of BTA’s second regular session at the Shariff Kabunsuan Complex in Cotabato City.
To date, the interim parliament has passed and approved four of the seven priority codes in the Bangsamoro region, focusing on administrative, civil service, education, and electoral matters. Since its establishment in 2019, the BTA has also approved 35 measures and adopted 324 resolutions.
BARMM Deputy Speaker Yasser Omar Sema said proposed laws and resolutions that miss the deadline will be given priority during the next session of the regular Bangsamoro parliament. – Rappler.com