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Cagayan de Oro City - At least 13 civil society organizations took part in the consultations on what major electoral reforms should be pursued and included in the crafting of the Bangsamoro Electoral Code (BEC) – a deliverable which the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) has yet to pass. The December 13-14 consultations highlighted important considerations that need to be reflected not only in the BEC but also in future party and election laws in the Bangsamoro.

 

The 2-day activity was attended by at least 13 CSOs from the mainland provinces of the Bangsamoro and who have long been partners of IAG in its previous and current programs. Central to the discussions were policy considerations that touch on the issues of (1) qualifications for accreditation/registration of regional political parties; (2) nomination process for reserved and sectoral seats; (3) voter registration of former combatants; (4) implications of the extension of the transition to the 2022 elections; (5) gender and sectoral representation in party membership; (6) timeframe for party registration; (7) empowerment of the Bangsamoro Electoral Office; (8) formula for converting votes into seats; (9) issues and challenges in re-districting, especially the 63 towns in North Cotabato; (10) role of digital technology in ensuring a transparent and fair elections in BARMM; and (11) ways through which civil society can strategically influence policy framework of the Electoral Code and future party laws.

 

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The resource persons during the 2-day consultations were Former COMELEC Commissioner Atty. Luie Tito Guia and the Executive Director of Mindanao Legal and Policy Lab, Atty. Mabandes Diron, Jr. BTA Member of Parliament Atty. Jose Lorena also gave his reactions to the recommended electoral reforms in the region through interaction with the speakers and CSO participants. The discussions also served as an opportunity on the part of civil society to interact with a BTA MP regarding the accomplishments and pending deliverables of the transitional government.

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The consultation is a first among a series of dialogues with CSOs, local government stakeholders, and other important sectors in shaping or influencing electoral reforms in the region. The activity surfaced major considerations and inputs from Bangsamoro civil society which will be incorporated into IAG’s policy agenda on electoral reforms and future party laws.