CONGRESS has ratified the bicameral conference committee report on a measure that will postpone the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) first regular elections to 2025 instead of next year.  

Voting 21-2 late Monday, majority of the senators approved the report which ironed out the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill 2214 and House Bill 10121 to move the date of the BARMM parliamentary elections to 2025, synchronizing it with the next midterm elections.   

The House of Representatives ratified the bicameral report last week.  

The proposed law will now be sent to President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who has previously expressed support for the postponement, for his signature.  

Under the reconciled version of the bill, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) shall continue as the interim government in the Bangsamoro region and its current members, who were appointed by Mr. Duterte, will serve until June 30, 2022.   

The new president who will be elected next year will have authority to appoint 80 new interim BTA members who will serve up to June 2025 or until their successors shall have been elected. 

“The reconciled provision will expedite the rollout of development and recovery efforts in the region through the effective leadership of competent, accountable, and reliable officials in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority,” said Senator Francis N. Tolentino, chair of the Senate panel in the bicameral conference committee, during the plenary.  

The extension of the BARMM transition period, he added, would provide more time and focus for the political and normalization efforts embodied in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro amid the health crisis. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan