The Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) is ramping up its political dialogue program to address the critical need for civic awareness ahead of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao's (BARMM) first-ever parliamentary elections in 2025.


Recognizing the knowledge gap among voters, IAG conducted a training of trainers in Davao City on June 26-27, 2024. The participants, composed of academics, civil society organizations, Indigenous peoples' organizations, youth groups, and women, will be equipped to deliver political education programs to diverse audiences across BARMM.


A recent IAG survey revealed an alarming lack of awareness about the new voting system, with over 58% of respondents having no knowledge at all. This highlights the urgency of providing voters with the information they need to participate effectively in the upcoming elections.


The training covered a comprehensive range of topics, including the Bangsamoro Electoral Code and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, voter registration, election day procedures, ballot understanding, addressing election challenges, post-election processes, ensuring free and fair elections, citizens' political participation rights and responsibilities, civic engagement, participation, media literacy, and information dissemination.


Atty. Rona Ann Caritos, executive director of Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE); Atty. Joyce Moran, provincial election supervisor with the Bangsamoro Election Office; and Ms. May Gladys Butoy, country director of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), served as resource persons for the training.


The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), established in 2018, paved the way for the creation of BARMM and its parliamentary system. The 80-seat Bangsamoro Parliament will consist of representatives elected proportionally by party, directly by district, and from reserved seats for special groups.


"Equipping citizens with knowledge is essential for a thriving democracy," IAG said. "This is especially crucial given the unique political landscape and history of the BARMM region. By empowering local leaders and community organizers, we can ensure effective dissemination of political education and empower voters to participate meaningfully in the upcoming elections."


IAG champions political participation in the Bangsamoro region through political dialogue and party-building programs. Its reach extends to the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), supporting Indigenous Peoples' rights. Nationally, IAG advocates for autonomy and effective governance. Supported by the Australian Government, political dialogue is a core focus, with nearly half (45.2%) of IAG's efforts dedicated to it.