Photo by Hamdan Badrudin/BIO
COTABATO CITY—This week, the nation has witnessed yet another historic event in the Bangsamoro’s pursuit of self-governance, that is the enactment of an electoral code that will pave the way for fair and transparent elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
At exactly 11:58 PM on March 8, 2023, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), in a special session, approved Parliament Bill No. 29 or the Bangsamoro Electoral Code (BEC) with 64 affirmative votes, zero negative vote, and zero abstention on its third and final reading.
Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said the BEC will bring fair and inclusive elections in the region.
“We are optimistic that this milestone will inspire different communities, sectors, and groups to take part in the first-ever Parliamentary elections in 2025 where we get the chance to control our collective future and fulfill the promises of our struggle, In Shaa Allah,” Ebrahim said.
The Electoral Code sets the guidelines and procedures for the conduct of Parliamentary elections in the BARMM alongside the national elections and ensures the protection of the people’s right to suffrage and the integrity of the electoral process.
The enactment coincided with the celebration of the International Women’s Day, the commemoration of Bangsamoro History Month and the celebration of National Women’s Month, which highlights women’s empowerment and gender equity.
The BEC adopts a modified Parallel Electoral System, combining Proportional Representation and the First Past the Post System, and provides for reserved seats to electorally under-represented sectors. RA 11054 or Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) provides that the 80-member Parliament shall be composed of 50% Party Representatives, not more than 40% District Representatives, and at least 10% Reserved Seats and Sectoral Representatives.
The Chief Minister noted, “Being one of our priority codes for this transition period, the enactment of the Electoral Code signals our region’s preparedness to embrace a democratic process that spells our people’s desire for peace and lasting development.”
He also expressed his thanks to all the partners and stakeholders who took part in the consultations in the different parts of the region.
“We are also grateful to our dear partners from the different national agencies, local government units, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders for sharing their precious inputs during our consultations.
To our dear constituents, we offer this success to you and to those whose lives were dedicated to our cause,” Ebrahim said.
Aside from fulfilling the BTA’s commitment to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the first quarter of 2023, the enactment of the code is considered to be a significant milestone in the Bangsamoro peace process—a testament to the commitment of the Bangsamoro people and the Philippine government to build a democratic and inclusive society in the region. (Aisah S. Abas/Johaira B. Sahidala/BIO)