A House leader on Thursday hailed the House of Representatives’ passage of the bill resetting the first regular elections of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as “a victory for the Bangsamoro people.”
Voting 187-0-0, the legislative chamber on Wednesday approved on third and final reading House Bill (HB) 10121 postponing the BARMM polls from 2022 to 2025.
The approval came on the same day House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco received a correspondence from Malacañang informing Congress that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has certified the measure as urgent.
Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera, who presided over Wednesday’s session and co-author of HB 10121, said the postponement would “allow the peace and development thrusts of BARMM to fully take off for the benefit of the region and its people.”
“We cannot agree more with the President that the postponement of the BARMM elections will give the Bangsamoro transitional government ample time to fulfill its mandate, establish a strong bureaucracy, and enact foundational codes essential to the achievement of the aspirations of unity, genuine autonomy, and development in the BARMM,” Herrera said.
By postponing the BARMM polls to 2025, Herrera said the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority, or BTA, also known as the interim BARMM parliament, will be given an additional three years to put up service facets essential to good governance. Maricel V Cruz
According to Herrera, this includes the creation of the electoral code and the accomplishment of other deliverables, which have been hampered by the challenges brought about by the ongoing pandemic.
Earlier, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco expressed jubilation over the measure’s imminent enactment.
“We are one with the government in providing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) its first electoral participation in the national elections in 2022,” Velasco said in a statement
“It is unfortunate, however, that the pandemic has exacerbated an already delayed transition period of the BARMM—a process that is exceedingly nuanced, and one that requires no less than the full and undivided attention of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to strengthen BARMM’s foundations for a stronger regional government and economy,” Velasco.added.