Senate approves bill postponing Bangsamoro region elections

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 6) — The Senate passed a bill on Monday postponing the first regular elections of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Lawmakers voted 13-3 with one abstention during the final reading.

Once passed into law, Senate Bill No. 2214 says, instead of 2022, the regional polls will be held in 2025 and will be synchronized with the national elections.

In a statement, Senator Francis Tolentino, the bill’s sponsor, said there was a need to extend the region's transition period to implement the political and normalization efforts embodied in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

"However, it (the committee) is also mindful of the Bangsamoro people's right to assert their democracy in the said region and exercise their right of suffrage. Although the BTA (Bangsamoro Transition Authority) has considerably delivered some of its mandates under the BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law), there is much work yet to be done," Tolentino added.

Tolentino heads the Senate Committee on Local Government.

In a sponsorship speech in May, Tolentino said the pandemic has affected the programs of the BTA in leading the transition period in the region as mandated by the BOL.

However, this was countered by Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson who said postponing the elections would mean "treading on a very dangerous ground."

"If the pandemic is the reason for the postponement of the BARMM election next year, it could open the floodgates to a no-el situation in the national and local elections next year," he said

CNN Philippines' Eimor Santos and Pia Garcia contributed to this report.