Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) has vowed to pass the election code before 2022 ends, Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Wednesday.

This, as BTA Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim assured completion of the remaining priority codes stated in Republic Act (RA) 11054 or the landmark Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), Galvez said in a virtual presser.

"Sinasabi po ni Chief Minister, sana po iyong election code ay mapasa po before the end of 2022 kasi mayroon na po itong draft at naipasa na rin po sa electoral comments and vetting (The Chief Minister is hoping for the passage of election code before the end of 2022 because there was already a draft submitted for electoral comments and vetting)," Galvez said.

Ebrahim, Galvez has expressed confidence about the passage of the remaining priority codes "in due time."

The BTA has yet to pass the priority measures in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which include the Bangsamoro Local Government Code, Electoral Code, Revenue Code, and Indigenous People's Code.

Galvez said Ebrahim's commitment was in line with President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos' recent instruction for the BTA members to finish their mission before 2025.

"The Chief Minister, he said that they are very confident that they will pass the election code before the end of 2022 in order for us to prepare for 2023 and 2024. Meaning, mas uunahin nila iyong election code to give way para sa (they will prioritize the election code to give way for the) preparation with the Comelec (Commission on Elections)," he said.

In 2021, former president Rodrigo Duterte signed a law moving the date of the first regular BARMM parliamentary and regional elections to May 2025.

Marcos, in a speech delivered during the mass oath-taking of BTA members on Aug. 12, stressed the importance of establishing "clear" rules to ensure the "orderly and proper" conduct of elections in the BARMM in 2025.

Talk with communists

Meantime, Galvez said the Marcos administration also wants to pursue peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

"Panawagan nga po namin is talagang kung pupuwede nga po talaga na talagang magkaroon na po ng katahimikan dito sa Pilipinas (We want peace and order in the Philippines) and we are also encouraging that all CPP-NPA members also will talk with us," Galvez said.

For now, the peace dialogue with the communist rebels would stay at the local level, while the government's peace negotiators are awaiting the President's guidance, Galvez said.

"For the process of the negotiation with the CPP-NPA-NDF (CPP-New People's Army-National Democratic Front) sa (in) Norway, we will await the guidance of the President," he said.

Galvez added that there was a possibility that roughly 10,000 communist rebels might be granted amnesty.

The peace negotiations between the national government and the NDF have been intermittent since 1986.

Duterte on Nov. 23, 2017 signed Proclamation 360, terminating the national government's peace talks with the CPP-NDF following a series of attacks waged by the NPA rebels against state forces and civilians.

However, Duterte on Dec. 4, 2018 signed Executive Order (EO) 70, institutionalizing the whole-of-nation approach that will be implemented by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to achieve "inclusive and sustainable peace."

Under EO 70, local peace bodies are directed to negotiate with communist rebels in their respective areas. (PNA)