HOUSE LAWMAKERS approved late Wednesday the postponement of the first regular elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
A counterpart measure was already passed at the Senate on Sept. 6.
In a 187-0 vote with 0 abstentions, the House approved House Bill 10121 that would move the BARMM parliamentary polls from May 2022 to 2025.
This will allow the Bangsamoro officials to “attend to more urgent needs” and “lay better and sturdier foundations” for a stronger regional government and economy, the bill said.
Both the House and Senate versions have a provision granting the new president who will be elected next year the power to appoint 80 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
The current BTA members, who comprise the BARMM parliament, will remain at their posts until the new appointments. The new BTA’s term will expire June 30, 2025 or until their successors have been elected.
The bill was approved by the House Committees on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, Muslim Affairs, and Peace, Reconciliation and Unity on Aug. 26 and was passed on second reading Sept. 13. President Rodrigo R. Duterte certified the bill as urgent in a letter addressed to House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco on Sept. 14, which led to its immediate passage. — Russell Louis C. Ku