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BASILAN BARMM ELECTORAL CODE

By: Shammah Sunga

BASILEÑOS VOICED OUT FOR REDISTRICTING BASILAN PROVINCE INTO 4 PARLIAMENTARY DISTRICTS DURING BARMM ELECTORAL CODE PUBLIC CONSULTATION IN LAMITAN CITY 

Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) GOVERNMENT had their Electoral Code BTA BILL NO. 367 Public Consultation on January 31,2024 at Lamitan Gymnasium, Barangay Maganda Lamitan City. 

Basilan Governor Jim Hataman, Vice Governor Yusoph Alano,Lamitan City Mayor Roderick Furigay, Tipo-tipo Vice Mayor Tong Istarul, People’s Organization Chairman Juni Ilimin, MNLF Vice Chairman Abdulmumin Mujahid, MBHTE Division Supervisor Myra Alih, Tuburan Councilor former Basilan Vice Governor Ping Kasim, SPDA Chairman former Basilan Governor Gerry Sarapuddin and other NGOs reminded BTA that during the Bangsamoro Basic Law December 2014 REDISTRICTING of BASILAN LGUs as written in House Bill 4994 IMBALANCED and IMPRACTICAL REDISTRICTING both geographical areas, as well as in population distribution. Proposed by proponents of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) into 4 Parliamentary Districts; District 1:Lamitan City, District 2:Akbar, Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Tuburan & Tipo-Tipo District 3:Albarka, Sumisip & Ungkaya Pukan & Tabuan Lasa District 4:Lantawan, Maluso and Hadji Muhtamad. 

On January 31,2024 A Position Paper on BTA Bill 267 An Act Creating Parliamentary Districts in the BARMM was submitted by Lamitan City Mayor Roderick Furigay to BTA spearheaded by Deputy Speaker Laisa M Alamia,  states the City Government of Lamitan and the people of Lamitan City is one and united in our call for a separate Parliamentary District for Lamitan City. Firstly, Lamitan City is a vibrant and growing City with a population of more than a hundred thousand at 100,150 as of latest census (2020) and CBMS data of more than 120,000 inhabitants. A population of that size deserves to be recognized and have its own voice and representation. Lamitan City can very well meet, on its own, the requirements of a parliamentary district as stated in the proposed in terms of population.

Lamitan City is an Independent Component City and serves as the Capital City of Basilan Province as well makes Lamitan City unique and significant in the development of Basilan and the BARMM. It has a completely different development needs as the other municipalities in Basilan, thus it cannot be clustered together with the other municipalities in Basilan, if BARMM truly want a just and equitable representation in the parliament and in decision-making. The same with Cotabato City and Marawi City they have their parliamentary representative.

Looking back in history, BTA issued Resolution No. 78 S. 2019 introduced by BTA Member Abdulmuhmin A. Mujahid, MP Hatimil E. Hassan and MP Muslimin A. Jakilan, which supports City SP Resolution No. 2019-197 requesting that City be considered as a Parliamentary District in the Province of Basilan, which until now, has not been realized. All these years, since BARMM’s inception, City has always been supportive of the Bangsamoro’s struggle for identity, autonomy and moral governance and has always been at the forefront in terms of bringing honor to the region with its various national level awards. Despite all these, City has remained wanting in terms of representation in the parliament. During the said consultation the represrntatives of BASILEÑOS ask the BTA that City be a separate and independent Parliamentary District in Basilan Province because Lamitan City as well as BASILEÑOS fully supported BBL not only financially as well as during campaign period and voted “YES” during BBL Plebscite and BTA promised to create Lamitan City District and 1 Christian Representative.

By establishing Lamitan City as a separate parliamentary district, we can empower its residents, promote local development, and ensure efficient and effective govemance for the betterment of the people. Creating the Parliamentary District of City separate from Akbar and Mohammad Adjul will provide its residents with a stronger voice and representation in BARMM decision-making processes. As part of a larger administrative unit, the needs and aspirations of the other two LGU – Akbar and Mohammad Ajul may be overshadowed or overlooked given the sheer size and concentration of population in City.

By granting Lamitan City its own District status, we give its people the opportunity to have and later on elect their own representative who are intimately familiar with the specific challenges and opportunities of the area. This will enable the residents to actively participate in shaping the future and direction of the city and ensure that their voices are heard especially in critical areas of decision making.

Creation of Lamitan City District is a step towards empowering its residents through participative govemance. By granting the City its own District status, we provide its people with a stronger voice, the ability to shape their own future, and the opportunity for greater local prosperity.

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