BARMM

PWDs take center stage in NGO-initiated Bangsamoro electoral education drive

Ferdinandh Cabrera

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PWDs take center stage in NGO-initiated Bangsamoro electoral education drive

EMPOWERING. BARMM residents, mostly persons with disabilities, participate in a voters' education campaign event held on December 12.

Ferdinandh Cabrera/Rappler

'We believe that empowering the grassroots will foster inclusive political participation, fundamental to everyone's right to suffrage,' says Mariam Ali, program manager of the Mindanao Organization for Social and Economic Progress

MAGUINDANAO DEL SUR, Philippines – As political groups in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) gear up for the inaugural regional elections in 2025, efforts are underway to educate communities in the Bangsamoro region through the facilitation of a non-governmental organization.

Around 200 residents, most of them persons with disabilities (PWDs), from Pagalungan and nearby Pikit in Cotabato province participated in a voters’ education campaign on the Bangsamoro Electoral Code, on Tuesday, December 12.

Mariam Ali, the program manager of Mindanao Organization for Social and Economic Progress Incorporated (MOSEP), emphasized the importance of empowering grassroots levels. 

Person, Baseball Cap, Cap
PARTICIPATE. Shoe repairman and barber Gian Macacua participates in a voters’ education campaign event in the BARMM held on December 12. Ferdinandh Cabrera/Rappler

By 2025, the first parliamentary election is scheduled, and we need them to understand the new election process. We believe that empowering the grassroots will foster inclusive political participation, fundamental to everyone’s right to suffrage,” she said.

With support from The Asia Foundation, the United Kingdom, and the BARMM regional government, the initiative prioritized PWDs from the two towns, recognizing them as marginalized and often disenfranchised during elections, with limited access to government services.

Gian Macacua, a 52-year-old shoe repairman and barber, expressed relief at the effort to include and reach out to them. He said, “This is a very noble effort to include and empower us in the parliamentary government.”

Rohaina Samad of Pikit, Cotabato, added, “We are glad we were prioritized and have learned the differences from the usual elections to a parliamentary form.”

Misuari Abdullah, program manager at The Asia Foundation, said the outcome of the 2025 BARMM elections would draw attention from the national government to the federalism setup and raise public awareness about parliamentary elections.

In the 2025 Bangsamoro elections, a total of 80 seats will be contested. The final composition of the parliament will consist of 40 seats for representatives of political parties elected through proportional representation and 32 seats for members elected from single-member districts, constituting 40%.

Parliamentary districts in Bangsamoro are yet to be constituted, each requiring more than 100,000 voters and existing independently from the congressional districts used for national representation.

Additionally, 10% of seats, or eight seats, will be reserved for sectoral representatives. The distribution for sectoral representative seats includes two seats for Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples (NMIP), two for settler communities, and one each for women, youth, traditional leaders, and Ulama.

NMIPs, traditional leaders, and Ulama representatives will be elected in their own convention/assembly, separate from parliamentary elections. The names of elected representatives must be submitted to the Commission on Elections seven days prior to the parliamentary elections and will be proclaimed simultaneously with the rest of the elected members of parliament. – Rappler.com

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