The Democratic Insights Group, a non-profit organization under Philippine laws, respectfully offers its comments on Bill No. 29. These comments are for the occasion of the discussion of the BARMM local government code and electoral code by the Institute of Autonomy and Governance and the Mindanao State University Experts Panel on October 27 and 28 in Manila, Philippines.
We centered on the affairs of the political parties and its relations with the envisioned BARMM Electoral Office. We believe that political parties should operate freely just like any other organization guaranteed freedom of association and competition akin to the liberal theory of a free electoral market. However, regulations around transparency in the affairs or political parties, reporting of income and spending, and similar disclosures should be put in place in order to get the confidence of voters on the operational feasibility and genuineness of parties.
The party system in the BARMM should be supported and encouraged to flourish with the State as the key enabler. If state subsidies to parties are fully supported by law, we submit for consideration that these be provided proportional to the seats earned or votes garnered. Consider also paying the salaries of key party officials like president, treasurer and secretary general. We also submit for consideration the establishment and subsidized operations of the party foundations, including providing annual operational funds and salary for the head
Any law establishing the BEO will require approval by the Commission on Elections. But some of the laws, especially on subsidies for political parties, upon which the COMELEC need to refer to determine if any constructs or ideas envisioned for the BEO would be consistent with it, may not yet exist. We recommend crafting these components though closely and simultaneously working with the COMELEC, the Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives, with civil society organizations and the academe.
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