Sunday Sep, 19 2021 08:52:06 AM

Moro sectors grateful to Senate for approving Bill 2214 

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 16:45 PM Tue Sep 7, 2021
John M. Unson
Photo: The Bangsamoro regional capitol in Cotabato City. (John Unson/File)

COTABATO CITY ---- Stakeholders were elated with the approval Monday on 3rd reading of Senate Bill 2214, the enabling measure for the resetting to 2025 of next year’s elections in the Bangsamoro region.

Muslim, Christian and non-Moro communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao are for the postponement of the electoral exercise, needed to pave the way for a full transition from the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the still 29-month BARMM.

The process, which started with the March 2019 replacement of ARMM with BARMM, had been stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The postponement of the 2022 BARMM elections is imminent. That is essential to putting an end to this decades-old Moro strife in the Southern Philippines,“ Gerry Salapuddin, administrator of the Southern Philippines Development Authority, said Tuesday.

A former Moro National Liberation Front official thrice wounded in encounters with state forces in the 1970s, Salapuddin, who hails from Basilan, said the BARMM government needs ample time to restore normalcy in its core territory, wracked by conflicts blamed for the poverty besetting the local communities.

“It is tedious work that can’t be done overnight. We are, thus, thankful to the Senate for approving on 3rd reading the Senate Bill 2214,” Salapuddin said.

BARMM Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, also regional spokesperson, said Tuesday the Bangsamoro government is thankful to the Senate for responding positively to cross-section clamors for the deferment to 2025 of the region’s 2022 elections.

“That is a big boost to efforts on reintroducing to mainstream society thousands of former Moro guerillas who fought for the creation of this BARMM that we now have,” Sinarimbo said.

The BARMM is a product of 22 years of peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, whose chairman, Hadji Ahod Ebrahim, is an appointed chief minister of the Bangsamoro region. 

The largest and most politically-active group in the MNLF, the one led by former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, is supporting the multi-sector bid for the postponement of next year’s BARMM polls.

The MNLF, which forged a final peace pact with Malacañang on September 2, 1996, or 23 years before BARMM was created as a concession to the MILF, wants the enactment first by the Bangsamoro interim parliament of a regional election code prior any regional polls.

The BARMM has a parliamentary form of government.

“We need to have our own regional election law first and the postponement of the 2022 BARMM elections will give the regional parliament enough time to process and pass that code into law in preparation for the 2025 exercise,” Sema said.


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