PRIORITY CODES. Stakeholders in Basilan wait for the start of public consultations on the proposed local governance and electoral codes in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Monday (Dec. 5, 2022).  The same consultations commenced on the same day in the provinces of Lamitan and Sulu. (Photo courtesy of BTA-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – Lawmakers of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) kicked off Monday simultaneous public consultations in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (BaSulTa) to expedite the passage of the region’s proposed electoral and local governance codes.
 
Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Speaker Pangalian Balindong said the consultations intend to "fine-tune the draft laws with stakeholders, and other sectors in the BaSulTa area."

BARMM parliament members and statutory committees have earlier paid courtesy visits to the BaSulTa provincial governments to ensure that all key stakeholders were involved in the public consultations.
 
The BTA, as the region’s interim lawmaking body, is mandated to ensure the passage of priority measures that include the BARMM’s administrative, revenue, electoral, local governance, education, civil service, and Indigenous Peoples Act codes.
 
Of the seven priority measures, three have been enacted: the administrative, civil service, and education codes.

During his recent visit to the region, President Ferdinand R. Marcos was assured by BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim that the local governance and electoral codes will be enacted into law by the first quarter of 2023.

The President has extended the Bangsamoro transition period until 2025 to give the current BARMM leadership the chance to make a difference and fulfill its mandate, as stated in the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

The Committee on Rules, chaired by BTA Floor Leader Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, will lead the public consultations on Parliament Bill No. 29, or the Bangsamoro Electoral Code.

On the other hand, the Committee on Local Government, chaired by Deputy Floor Leader Raissa Jajurie, will lead consultations on Parliament Bill No. 30, or the Bangsamoro Local Governance Code.

The consultations will run from Dec. 5-8. (PNA)