The most challenging item in the BTA’s challenging to-do-list is the familiarization of the entire Bangsamoro community to the new parliamentary structure of the regional government as provided for in Article VII of the BOL.

The Bangsamoro Parliament shall be composed of 80 members. One half (50%) shall be representatives of political parties elected through a system of proportional representation. Not more than 40% of the members of the parliament shall be elected from single member districts. Reserved seats and sectoral representatives shall constitute at least 10%.

Worth noting that the Chief Minister in the BARMM is not directly elected by the people unlike the Regional Governor in the ARMM. This is a totally new dynamic because people will not only be voting for a member to the Bangsamoro Parliament, but they will also be indirectly voting for the potential Chief Minister.

Hence, BARMM voters must not only consider the candidate’s own suitability but also the credibility of his political party or his affiliation to potential Chief Ministers. This is possibly an unfamiliar voting responsibility that must be properly explained to the voters in the BARMM.

Crucially, given the new parliamentary set-up in the BARMM, the Bangsamoro electorate must now be very conscious about executive–legislative balance of power in their parliament. The borderline undemocratic case of a super majority in the Bangsamoro Parliament (similar to that existing in the current Congress) will not bode well for the BARMM.

Notably, the BOL has provisions covering the election of the Chief Minister and the formation of the regional government. Nonetheless, it is incumbent upon the BTA to also work on drafting guidelines to oversee the performance of these tasks. Addressing issues such as conflicts of interest, identifying party or coalition consensus, contingencies of a minority government, changes in government mid-term, qualifications of Ministers and so forth, must be guided by administrative standards and principles. This is how a unique Bangsamoro parliamentary tradition is built from the ground up.

Obviously, Bangsamoro politicians and voters alike must see their role in a parliamentary system. Learning parliamentary principles and methods, specially getting up to speed with its lexicon, is absolutely necessary for the Bangsamoro community.

For the BTA therefore, implementing education and training for the needed changes, specifically those concerning the new parliamentary system of government, is an urgent priority. This must be done in conjunction with the enactment of the Bangsamoro Electoral Code.

MILESTONES

Electoral Code for BARMM

The drafting and enactment by the BTA of the first Electoral Code for the BARMM is supposed to determine the rules for regional parties and/or party-lists. The Electoral Code for BARMM will provide for the Electoral System for Proportional Representation, which is a unique feature of the BARMM.

Creation of Single Seat Districts

While half of the Bangsamoro Parliament shall be elected by Proportional Representation as party representatives, the other members are elected to single seat districts to complete the eighty (80) member parliament.Based on the plebiscite results, LGUs that joined the BARMM have to be territorially reconfigured into constituent units and their administrative status and that of national government agencies operating therein have to be determined. New LGUs may be established, merged or abolished, and the creation of districts for parliamentary elections has to be considered.

First Parliamentary Elections

The first regular elections for the Bangsamoro Parliament will be in 2022 since it is supposed to be synchronized with national and local elections.

EMERGING QUESTIONS

1

What is the most fundamental difference between the previous regional government structure under the ARMM and a parliamentary structure?

2

What are the challenges in organizing this parliamentary structure?

3

What role do regional and national political parties have in such a parliamentary structure?

4

Is there a necessary connection between the parliamentary structure and how elections are conducted in the BARMM?


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