Lower House panels endorse postponement of 2022 BARMM polls

Published August 27, 2021, 11:17 AM

by Ben Rosario

The legislative proposal proposal to reset next year’s elections of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to 2025 was approved by three House of Representatives committees, two days after the Senate voted to pass on second reading its version of the bill.

BARMM logo

The House Committees on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, on Muslim Affairs and on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity approved a consolidated bill proposing to postpone the BARMM elections from the original schedule from May, 2022 to May, 2025.

The approved bill consolidated five different legislative measures filed by Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez; Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep Loren Legarda and Reps. Isidro Ungab (3rd District, Davao City); Khalid Dimaporo (1st District, Lanao del Norte) and Esmael Mangudadatu (2nd District, Maguindanao).

Maguindanao Rep. Datu Roonie Sinsuat presented during the hearing the revised substitute bill and moved for its approval.

The bill provides that the BARMM elections will be postpone from the second Monday of May, 2022 to the second Monday of May in 2025.

Incumbent officials of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority headed by Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim will continue to occupy their posts unless terminated by the president before the 2025 elections.

The president will have the sole authority and discretion to determine the term of office of appointed BTA members.

In pushing for the approval of the bill, Romualdez cited the need for the Bangsamoro people “to ensure the continued growth and development of their region.”

“This will also give ample time for a full and more efficient transition of the BARMM and the effective implementation of programs and operations of the BTA,” the House official said.

On the other hand, Ungab explained that he sought the postponement of next year’s election because of the continued threat to public health of the deadly 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Further, the BARMM transitional government, Bangsamoro Transition Authority led by Bangsamoro Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim, also pointed out that the BTA need for more time to build bureaucracy, pass foundational codes and help former MILF combatants improve their quality of life,” said Ungab.

The Davao City lawmaker said many aspects of the transition has been “undeniably delayed” by the pandemic.

For his part, Dimaporo stated that the bill intends to ensure the “fulfillment of the Annex on Normalization under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro for the Reintegration of the MILF Combatants to mainstream society.”