THE BANGSAMORO Parliament meets at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City. — BUSINESSWORLD/TSBASMAN

ADDRESSING political dynasties and ensuring fair representation in parliament were among the issues raised as members of the Bangsamoro transitional government held consultations this week for the proposed regional laws on elections and local governance.   

The latest round of discussions was held in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, where groups of Bangsamoro Parliament members met with local leaders and multi-sector representatives.  

Among the concerns raised were the proposed (local governance) codes inclusivity, its provisions on qualifications and disqualifications for elective local positions, and anti-political dynasties,the Bangsamoro Parliament said in a statement.   

Deputy Speaker Laisa M. Alamia noted that a provision against political dynasties would be unprecedented in the country.  

There is currently no enabling Philippine law that prohibits members of the same family or clan from concurrently or consecutively running for the same or different positions within a locality or at the national level.   

Section 40 of the proposed Bangsamoro Local Governance Code, which lists the basis for disqualification, includes Those who are related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent local official running for an elective position.” 

This covers positions within the same province, city, municipality, or barangay.   

Election watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), during consultations in October for the draft Bangsamoro Electoral Code, also put forward the adoption of an anti-political dynasty provision.  

NAMFREL recommended that, Candidates must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official or to any incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official.”  

Meanwhile, officials in Tawi-Tawi, the farthest province from the southern mainland Mindanao, raised the need to consider the geographical characteristic of island localities for defining districts in the Bangsamoro region.   

The redistricting will determine representation in the Bangsamoro Parliament, whose members will be also be voted.  

Section 10 of Article 7 of the Bangsamoro Organic Law provides that parliamentary districts shall be apportioned based on population and geographical area, provided that each district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territorial jurisdiction.”  

Tawi-Tawi Provincial Board member Dayang Carlsum S. Jumaide, who represents the womens sector, stressed the need to take into account the islands population and its remote location.  

Although the redistricting for parliamentary representation under the Bangsamoro Organic Law states that districts must be contiguous, compact, and adjacent, Island municipalities like those in Tawi-Tawi are separated by vast water, which criteria (contiguous, compact) may not apply as we perceive and believe, Ms. Jumaide said. 

Parliament Member John Anthony L. Lim, who is from Tawi-Tawi, agreed and said, Financial viability should be one of the criteria in apportioning the parliamentary districts to give a chance to smaller local government units to have representatives in the Parliament.”   

Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim has earlier committed to have both the Bangsamoro Electoral and Local Governance Codes passed within the first quarter next year.   

Another series of public consultations are scheduled this month in the regional capital Cotabato City, the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, and the regions Special Geographic Area. Marifi S. Jara