Press Release
August 26, 2021

Senate okays BARMM parliamentary polls postponement on 2nd reading

MANILA - The Senate has approved on second reading the proposed bill that seeks to postpone next year's parliamentary elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and extend the transition period in the region until 2025.

Voting 18-1 with two abstentions, members of the upper house secured the passage on second reading of Senate Bill No. 2214 during Wednesday's plenary proceedings.

SB 2214 seeks to amend Republic Act No. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) by postponing the next year's polls in the region and extend until 2025, the Bangsmoro Transition Authority (BTA).

The BTA currently serves as the interim BARMM parliament in compliance with the Republic Act No. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Senator Francis 'Tol' N. Tolentino, Chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government and the principal sponsor of SB 2214, welcomed its approval, saying that it will ensure the swift implementation of the political and normalization tracks which were agreed during the peace talks between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)—under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Based on the latest assessment made by the COMELEC, it cannot enforce the conduct of the regional polls in BARMM since the redistricting of the parliamentary districts and the passage of its regional electoral code have yet to be finished by the BTA.

COMELEC Resolution No. 10713 which was unanimously approved by COMELEC en banc last August 11 stressed that "the allocation of elective positions for the BARMM parliamentary elections cannot yet be determined at this point due to the unavailability of the Bangsamoro Electoral Code," among others.

The latest resolution from the poll body also noted the lack of apportionment of the BARMM into parliamentary districts, as well as determining the manner of conducting elections of the reserved and electoral seats and the treatment of 63 barangays in North Cotabato which were recently included in the Bangsamoro Region.

The BTA has yet to finalize its electoral code since it is currently awaiting data on the 2020 Census from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which is yet to be finished due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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