Lawmakers hailed for ‘shepherding’ bill on BTA extension

By ALI G. MACABALANG

Bangsamoro Member of Parliament and Social Services and Development Minister Raissa Jajurie

COTABATO CITY — The interim Parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has lauded the Senate for “shepherding the process” of passing the bill deferring the BARMM’s first election in 2022 to extend the regional transition period demanded by over a million people.

The regional legislature conveyed appreciation to the Senate leadership and majority senators through a resolution authored principally by Member of Parliament (MP) Raissa Jajurie, who is also a regional cabinet member heading the Ministry of Social Services and Development.

On a similar tone, the BARMM cabinet through its spokesman Naguib Sinarimbo alongside thousands of supporters hailed the passage on second reading by the House joint committee report on its counterpart bill Thursday night.

Sinarimbo lauded joint committees’ chairs Juliet Marie De Leon-Ferrer of Negros Occidental, Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong of Lanao Sur, and Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao for mustering 40 affirmative votes against three dissenting votes in their nominal voting.

Responding to rising queries via social media and phone calls, BARMM Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua named sources of negative voters as Sultan Kudarat Rep. Rihan Mangudadatu-Sakaluran and Lanao del Norte Rep. Khalid Dimaporo, who reportedly voted twice in view of his membership in two committees.

But Macaraof, a member of both parliament and cabinet, called on supporters not to personalize issues on how the 18th Congress treats the bills, prodding them that approval, dissent and abstention votes characterize democracy.

Sinarimbo pointed out that “the leadership of the UBJP (United Bangsamoro Justice Party) extends its profoundest gratitude to all of you (supportive lawmakers)!” UBJP is the MARMM’s most dominant regional party comprising key leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and allied with local ruling elected leaders.

“Rest assured that gratitude is an attitude in this principled party,” said Sinarimbo, who serves as Local Government Minister and has been advocating for reforms in regional electoral exercises from personality and money-based polling to election by party principles.   

In the Parliament resolution, MP Jajurie and co-authors highlighted the Senate’s “shepherding process” on Aug. 25 in passing on second plenary hearing SB No. 2214 authored by Senator Francis Tolentino.   

 “We want to thank each and every senator, even those who voted no, for participating in the discussion and raising issues that may be important for us,” Jajurie said, noting that the act was “one step closer to the final bill approval.”

The Parliament resolution cited the collective contribution to the “fruitful deliberation” of the bill by Senator Tolentino, Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senate President Tito Sotto.

“While we commend the whole of the Senate as an institution for approving (the bill) on second reading, we’re also commending the officials and mechanisms that brought the bill to that point,” Jajurie said.

During the period of amendments, the Senate opted to delete the entire sections 2 and 3 of the measure to empower the next President in appointing the successors of President Duterte’s appointed members of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) whose interim terms will end on June 20, 2022.

Parliament members echoed supporters’ praises of Sen. Zubiri for sometimes going beyond his role as majority floor leader in clarifying issues in support of the bill. (AGM)

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