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BARMM starts preparations for 2025 Parliamentary elections

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)-- In preparation for the forthcoming parliamentary elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in 2025, the Bangsamoro government has started initiating measures to facilitate a seamless and well-informed electoral procedure.

Interior and Local Government Minister Sha Elijah Dumama Alba said the preparations are focused on two key tracks. The first track involves the readiness of political parties and government mechanisms, while the second track is for raising awareness and enhancing voter education.

During the launch of the "Halalang Bangsamoro" podcast series by the Bangsamoro Information Office and Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), Alba shared the establishment of a speakers bureau within the BTA Parliament. Comprising lawyers, this bureau will assist in information and education campaigns related to the Bangsamoro Electoral Code.

The speakers bureau, she said, was organized in collaboration with LENTE and the Asia Foundation.

To bolster voter awareness, Alba added that comprehensive voter education materials have been developed and will be disseminated to inform the public about the elections in 2025.

Alba further disclosed that they have also coordinated with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the finalization of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Bangsamoro Electoral Code. Accordingly, the IRR is crucial as it lays down the specifics of the BARMM parliamentary elections.

"Gusto nilang isalang yung IRR by the second week of February sa Comelec en banc session para mailabas nila ang IRR kasama na rin yung calendar of activities. We look forward na makakuha na ng approved IRR para makagalaw na ang kailangan gumalaw sa ground [they want to submit the IRR in the Comelec en banc session so that they can release the IRR by the second week of February along with the calendar of activities. We look forward to getting an approved IRR so that those who need to move on the ground can already move]," she said.

BTA Deputy Speaker Lanang Ali Jr., who also joined the discussion, underscored the pivotal role of COMELEC in the first BARMM parliamentary elections. He shared that the poll body has been supportive of the BTA and has released certain resolutions that will help operationalize the provisions of the Bangsamoro Electoral Code.

The BTA deputy speaker also emphasized the need for a concerted effort to inform and educate the citizens about the unique aspects of the upcoming electoral process.

"Ito yung first time na magkakaroon tayo ng parliamentary elections dito sa Pilipinas. Iba yung nakasanayan ng ating mga kababayan sa eleksyon, pero ito ay parliamentary election, kaya kailangan natin mainform at ma-educate ang ating mga kababayan [this is the first time that we will have parliamentary elections here in the Philippines. This is different from the elections that our citizens are used to, this is a parliamentary election, so we need to inform and educate our compatriots]," he said.

The Bangsamoro Information Office and Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) launch a podcast series to discuss the preparations for the 2025 Parliamentary elections in BARMM. Dubbed "Halalang Bangsamoro: Ang Boto ng Bangsamoro," the first episode of the podcast series tackled the Bangsamoro Transition Authority Bill No. 267 which seeks to create 32 parliamentary districts in the Bangsamoro region. (PIA Lanao del Sur)

Establishing Parliamentary Districts

In the 2025 BARMM elections, the Bangsamoro people will vote for leaders who will represent them in the 80-member Parliament, composed of 50percent party representatives (40 members), 40 percent district representatives (32 members), and 10 percent sectoral representatives (eight members).

Alba revealed that, under the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the BTA has been granted the authority to establish parliamentary districts in the region.

Parliament Bill No. 267 has been filed to create 32 districts, ensuring equitable representation among the 4.9 million Bangsamoro constituents.

She said the distribution of districts is based on both population and geographical area. 

"Ang mga lugar na sakop ng mga distrito ay dapat magkakadikit-dikit at magkakatabi at may populasyon na hindi bababa sa isang daang libo [the areas covered by the districts must be contiguous and have a population of at least one hundred thousand]," she explained.

For the population, Alba disclosed that the BTA utilized the 2020 Census of Population for the proposed parliamentary districts. 

Under the proposed measure, Lanao del Sur will have eight parliamentary districts while Sulu will have seven. Basilan is allocated three, three for Tawi-Tawi, four for Maguindanao del Norte, four for Maguindanao del Sur, two for Cotabato City, and one for the Special Geographic Area.

The series of public consultations for BTA Bill No. 267 commenced Monday, January 15, in Cotabato City and will end on January 30 in Basilan province. A simultaneous consultation was also scheduled for Maguindanao del Norte and the Special Geographic Area on January 16, Maguindanao del Sur and Lanao del Sur on January 18, and Tawi-tawi and Sulu on January 29.

The BTA is also inviting key stakeholders from various sectors to submit their position papers for this crucial legislative initiative. (APB/PIA-10 Lanao del Sur)

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Apipa Bagumbaran

Assistant Regional Head

Region 10

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