BARMM’s 2022 election postponement likely — Zubiri

John Unson - Philstar.com
BARMM�s 2022 election postponement likely � Zubiri
Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman (left) huddles with Dickson Hermoso and Romeo Sema (right) Bangsamoro communication and labor ministers, respectively, during a break in Friday’s regional governance summit in Cotabato City.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Stakeholders were elated with the announcement Friday by Sen. Miguel Zubiri that they might wrap up in a month the measure resetting the 2022 Bangsamoro elections to 2025.  

Zubiri announced in the Bangsamoro Governance Summit here Friday via online Zoom that the Senate is now in the final stage of passing Senate Bill 2214.

The bill is a requisite for postponing the supposed first ever 2022 regional elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Zubiri was one of the online speakers in the summit, held at the 300-seater Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in the 32-hectare Bangsamoro regional capitol in  eastern side of Cotabato City.

Secretary Salvador Panelo, chief presidential legal counsel, attended the summit and also personally delivered a message. 

The summit was attended by elected leaders from across the region, among them Gov. Jim Salliman of Basilan, Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. of Lanao del Sur and Vice Mayor Roderick Furigay of Lamitan City.

Zubiri said Senate Bill No. 2214 was discussed on second reading last June.

Friday's governance summit was organized by Bangsamoro Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo and the office of BARMM Chief Minister Hadji Ahod Ebrahim, meant to align the peace, security and development thrusts of municipal, city and provincial governments with that of the autonomous regional government.

Muslim, Christian and indigenous non-Moro communities are together in their bid to have next year’s pioneering BARMM elections deferred to 2025 for the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to have enough time to put up governance facets essential to the promotion of peace and development in the region.

The transition from the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the infant BARMM started only in March 2019, a month after the enactment into law of the Bangsamoro region’s charter, the Republic Act 11054, more known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

"In shaa Allah (God willing), within a month we will get it done," Zubiri told summit participants.

The senator, who hails from Bukidnon province in Region 10, was apparently referring to the proposed enabling law that shall legitimize the resetting of the 2022 BARMM polls to 2025.

Sinarimbo, also BARMM’s regional spokesperson, discussed the goals of Friday’s governance summit, facilitated by the region’s Ministry of the Interior and Local Government.

He said a strong cooperation among municipal, provincial and city governments and the Bangsamoro administration in furthering reconciliation, socio-economic and other humanitarian initiatives can accelerate the region’s recovery from underdevelopment.

Salliman and Adiong, second and first-termer governors of Basilan and Lanao del Sur, respectively, separately assured the MILG-BARMM of their support to its “convergence concept” of addressing socio-economic and security woes besetting the Bangsamoro region.

In separate presentations, Salliman and Adiong talked about projects in their provinces that are being assisted by BARMM and proposed more for possible funding by the still 28-month Bangsamoro government.

Both governors told reporters they are for the postponement of next year’s BARMM elections to 2025 too.

Adiong said there is no problem with him and his 39 constituent-mayors acceding to converging BARMM and their respective security and development initiatives.

Salliman said he is certain the governance innovation introduced by Sinarimbo's office can boost his administration’s provincial security thrusts focused on improving the economy in the island province of Basilan that got stymied by the presence of Abu Sayyaf terrorists from the early 1990s until late 2013.

The provincial government of Basilan, the police and the Army’s 101st Infantry Brigade have secured the surrender via diplomatic efforts of 316 Abu Sayyaf members in the province since Salliman first got elected as governor in 2016.

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