Bicam Approves Final Bangsamoro Basic Law Version

Manila, Philippines MINA— The Senate and the House of Representatives agreed yesterday on the final version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Philstar reported Saturday.

The bicameral conference committee worked overtime on Thursday night to resolve the few remaining contentious issues in the law that would create a new Bangsamoro territory to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“We finished everything in principle at 12:15 a.m.,” Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said.

He said the conference committee authorized his Senate counterpart Juan Miguel Zubiri “to finalize our report and we will meet on Tuesday, July 17, for its approval and, forthwith, forward it to the President for his consideration.”

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“If he finds it to his approval, we will have it ratified in plenary by the House and the Senate when we convene our third regular session on Monday, July 24, 2018, at 10 a.m., for it to be signed into law by the President on or before the SONA at 4 p.m.,” he said.

A commission composed of representatives of the government, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other Muslim groups drafted the proposed BBL.

MILF vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar has indicated that his organization would accept the final version written by the Senate-House conference committee co-chaired by Fariñas and Zubiri.

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He said they did not expect the panel to water down the proposed BBL.


Bangsamoro region expanded

On Wednesday, in a meeting with bicam members, President Duterte resolved the panel’s deadlock on the territory of the proposed new Bangsamoro region and the conduct of a plebiscite among the affected areas.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the President convinced the committee to adopt the pertinent provisions of the House version, which are consistent with a 2014 ruling of the Supreme Court.

In the case, the high court ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct a plebiscite in the entire province of Nueva Ecija, not just Cabanatuan City, on Cabanatuan’s conversion as a highly urbanized city.

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In the draft BBL, aside from the five provinces now covered by the ARMM, the envisioned Bangsamoro region would be expanded to include six towns in Lanao del Norte and 39 barangays in North Cotabato. The new region would replace ARMM. (T/RS05/RS01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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