House approves on 2nd reading bill postponing BARMM election until 2025

RG Cruz and Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2021 12:20 PM

Residents in Sultan Kudarat look for their names from the Commission on Elections list of voters for the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite at the Simuay Junction Crossing Elementary School, January 21, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Residents in Sultan Kudarat look for their names from the Commission on Elections list of voters for the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite at the Simuay Junction Crossing Elementary School, January 21, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The House of Representatives on Monday approved on second reading the bill postponing until 2025 the first regular election in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), instead of synchronizing it with the 2022 national elections as provided under the Bangsamoro Organic Law. 

House Bill 10121 provides that the first regular election for the BARMM will be moved to the 2025 national elections.

According to its Congressional fact sheet, the bill will grant the president the power to appoint 80 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), who will serve up to June 30, 2025 when the incumbent members' terms expire on June 30, 2022.

The House will approve the bill on final reading in 3 days.

Last week, the Senate approved on final reading its version of the bill. 

The current BTA, sitting as the region's parliament, has yet to enact its own electoral code, a crucial document needed to govern the supposed elections in May 2022. 

Last January, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim vowed to finalize its electoral code in the first quarter of 2021, but the document has yet to materialize 8 months away from the May 2022 polls.

The BTA is lobbying to postpone the elections, citing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but other groups in the region are opposing the move. 

The Palace said President Rodrigo Duterte is "neutral" on calls to extend the Bangsamoro government's transition period.

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