ACCOMPLISHMENT. Bangsamoro Transition Authority Speaker Pangalian M. Balindong (2nd from right) is joined by BTA Deputy Speaker Omar Yasser C. Sema (2nd from left), BTA Majority Floor Leader Lanang T. Ali, Jr. (left), and Member of Parliament Jose Lorena (right) during the press conference held Tuesday (Jan. 19, 2021) inside the BARMM complex in Cotabato City. The BTA leaders highlighted the passing of 15 major regionals laws for the two-year-old political entity. (Photo by PNA Cotabato)

COTABATO CITY – Regional lawmakers are pushing for an extension of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao's transition phase up to 2025, saying more time is needed to pass important measures.

Speaking during a press conference Tuesday, Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Speaker Pangalian Balindong and three other lawmakers noted that the transition phase has been disrupted by the coronavirus disease pandemic.

“Our BTA scheduled sessions have repeatedly been hindered by occurrences of Covid-19 restrictions that have affected the region, the country, and the world,” Balindong said during the forum.

Balindong and his colleagues also proposed to amend the Bangsamoro Organic Act so that the regional elections be moved from 2022 to 2025.

Balindong was joined in by BTA Deputy Speaker Omar Yasser C. Sema, BTA Majority Floor Leader Lanang T. Ali, Jr., and Member of Parliament Jose Lorena during a press conference held inside the BARMM center here.

The BTA passed 15 major laws and some 100 resolutions since BARMM's inception two years ago.

Only recently, the BTA passed the region’s administrative code, which defines the structural, functional, and procedural principles and rules of the region's governance.

Still pending before the BTA are five proposed priority legislation that includes the Bangsamoro Civil Service Code, Bangsamoro Electoral Code, Bangsamoro Education Code, Bangsamoro Internal Revenue Code, and the Bangsamoro Local Government Code.

Balindong said all the five prioritized measures are now being tackled at the “committee level.”

Political dynasty

Pressed by reporters on what measure they think would eat up a lot of time, the officials said it would be on the local government code, particularly concerning the political dynasty.

Sema said the particular provision calls for the ending of political dynasty up to the second degree of consanguinity and affinity of future elected officials in the region.

Expressing his views on the same proposal, Lorena said the subject would be a “hard sale” on the part of political clans in the region that have a huge number of followers.

“Public consultations are needed on this matter but we remain optimistic to thresh out problems in the future,” he said.

When asked, Balindong said that given the transition extension they are asking, the political dynasty issue would be given more attention by the BTA members.

“For the sake of moral governance, I am for the abolition of political dynasty,” he said.

Sema described political dynasty as a “ticklish issue” that needs further deliberation at the BTA plenary.

“I, myself, do not completely agree on abolishing the "political dynasty" in the region as it somehow suppresses the right of suffrage of the constituents to vote for their leaders. (PNA)