FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte receives a draft of the newly proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in a turnover ceremony at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace on July 17, 2017. Joining the President are (from left) Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Murad Ebrahim, Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chair Ghazali Jaafar, and MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang expects that Congress will approve and pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) next week.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque confirmed Thursday, May 24, that a copy of the bill has already been forwarded to the Office of the President.
“Before end of the month, dahil iyon din ang ipinangako ng liderato ng Kongreso. Hindi po sila magre-recess nang hindi naa-aprubahan ang BBL,” said Sec. Roque.
(Before end of the month, because that is what the leadership of Congress promised. They will not go on recess until the BBL is approved.)
When asked if its ready for the President’s signature, he replied, “Certainly. Before they adjourn sine die (on May 30).“
President Rodrigo Duterte previously said that he wants to make sure that both versions of the two chambers of Congress are similar before he certifies the bill as urgent.
The government also expressed confidence that the proposed legislation has the support of concerned stakeholders such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF,) the Lumads and even the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF.)
Still, the Duterte administration is leaving the passage of BBL to Congress in hopes that it will resolve the decade-long conflict in Mindanao.
“We’re holding them to their promise. Kasi wala namang dahilan para hindi sila ma-meet ang (there is no reason for them not to meet the) deadline. I understand, nagkaroon sila ng (they had an) all-members caucus in the House and it was agreed that it will be passed before they go on break,” Roques added.
However, the Senate is likely to remove what they call “unconstitutional provisions” of the proposed BBL. Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the senators are still having a careful study on the bill’s budget, special powers and opt-in provisions. The Senate also considers the name of the proposed Bangsamoro Region as a complicated issue that needs to be discussed.
“Kasi ang nakalagay sa Constitution, ARMM. Ito ang sinasabi ng ibang kasama namin na Moro nation, Bangsa-moro,” Sotto explained.
(It says in the Constitution: ARMM. This what some of our members refer to as Moro nation, Bangsa-moro.)
The Senate targets to finish deliberation and eventually approve its own version of the BBL by next week.
“In the Senate, I think we will able to come up with a conservative but well-crafted proposal for a Bangsamoro law. The House is much closer to what the BTC submitted,” the Senate president said. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue