BTA passes Bangsamoro Administrative Code

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 29 October) – The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) approved Wednesday the Bangsamoro Administrative Code.

Considered the blueprint for the governance of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the Code was passed in a two-day special session where BTA members voted on the floor or online.

Members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority discuss the fate of the proposed Bangsamoro Administrative Code during special session at the Shariff Kabunsuan Complex in Cotabato City on Wednesday (28 October 2020), complete with face masks and shields as the whole world deal with the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

All the 26 BTA members who were physically present and the 32 others who attended via zoom voted in favor of Cabinet Bill No. 60.

The Code defines the structural, functional, and procedural principles and rules of governance of the BARRM.

BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim lauded the efforts of the BTA led by Speaker Atty. Ali Pangalian Balindong.

“I would like to express my gratitude and congratulations to my colleagues in the BTA Parliament, under the guidance of our  for the historic approval of the Bangsamoro Administrative Code. Today we are writing history by providing the form and structure of the Bangsamoro Government and fulfilling one of our mandates during the transition period,” Ebrahim said.

He admitted it was not an easy task as the coronavirus pandemic came before its passage.

He highlighted the pursuit of moral governance with the passage of the Code.

“It  shall maintain honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability in governance and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption.

“This salient point speaks of our earnest desire to leave a system that adheres to the concept of amanah, where leadership and responsibilities are not just titles or positions, but more importantly a trust given by the Almighty,” he added.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the predecessor of BARMM, was roundly criticized for alleged rampant graft and corruption.

Ebrahim noted that the Code includes the institutionalization of Shariah in the context of the Bangsamoro, acknowledges the rising industry of cooperatives and small and medium enterprises, and recognizes the important role of women, youth and other sectors.

“Now, we are moving towards the crucial time of establishing a regional bureaucracy that is responsive to their needs and provide them with the future anchored in our shared values, identity and self-determination,” he said.

“We cannot and we must not stop until we create a BARMM that speaks of the sacrifices by our dear Mujahideen, that speaks of the dreams of young Fatimas and Abdullahs; a BARMM that speaks our narrative,” he added.

Parliament member Nabil Tan said the Code went through several processes and reviews before the body came up with an “enhanced version.”

Other priority bills such as those for the Local Government Code and the Civil Service Code were already approved on second reading in the plenary and were referred to the committee on rules.

The bill for the Education Code was filed Thursday and referred to the committee on education. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)