BARMM creates 32 parliamentary districts via regional edict

John Unson - Philstar.com
BARMM creates 32 parliamentary districts via regional edict
This file photo shows the executive building of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
via The STAR / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The first ever Bangsamoro parliamentary elections in 2025 shall cover 32 newly-created districts set via an edict by its interim 80-member regional lawmaking body.

Local executives in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao told reporters on Monday that they appreciate the creation of the 32 parliamentary districts, for them so essential in ensuring ample representation of the BARMM component provinces and cities in the regional parliament.

While the first ever BARMM parliamentary elections are still too far away, many local executives are now reaching out to each other, building consensus on whom to pit, as their common candidates, for each seat in the regional parliament.

The present interim Bangsamoro parliament is composed of 80 members appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., whose tenures shall last only until the assumption of duly elected lawmakers after next year's electoral exercise, simultaneous with the local and midterm senatorial elections. 

BARMM’s appointed chief minister, Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, signed into law last week the Bangsamoro Autonomy Act 58 that established the 32 parliamentary districts in the autonomous region that covers the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and the cities of Lamitan, Marawi and Cotabato.

Under BAA 58, Basilan has shall have three Bangsamoro parliamentary districts, four each in Maguindanao del Sur and in Maguindanao del Norte, seven in Sulu, three in Tawi-Tawi, eight in Lanao del Sur, two in Cotabato City and a lone district for the 63 Bangsamoro barangays in different towns in Cotabato province, which is under Administrative Region 12.

The seaside Lamitan City in Basilan and a nearby town, Akbar, had been fused together under one district, one of the three parliamentary districts in the island province.

“That for us is fair enough. Our more than forty barangays and the municipality of Akbar, which has an area much smaller than that covered by Lamitan City, shall together have a strong voice in the BARMM parliament through a member elected by voters in these two areas,” Lamitan City Mayor Roderick Herrera Furigay said on Monday.

BARMM has eight separate congressional districts existing long before its regional government, more empowered than the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, was established via a plebiscite in 2019, a product of 22 years of peace talks between Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The BAA 58 has no effect at all on the coverage of the eight congressional districts in the Bangsamoro region, something the regional parliament can neither reduce, nor expand, being directly under the House of Representatives.

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