Philippine Lawmakers Approve Bangsamoro Basic Law


Zamboanga City, Philippines — In a historic move, the two chambers of the Philippine Congress approved the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law on Wednesday in a bid to attain a just and lasting peace in the southern islands of Mindanao, Anadolu Agency reported.

With a vote of 226 in favor of the bill and 11 against, the bill passed the final reading in the Lower House. Two lawmakers abstained.

Meanwhile, the Senate unanimously approved the measure on its third and final reading early Thursday.

The House of Representatives approved the unnumbered bill while senators approved Senate Bill 1717, which aims to provide the basic law for the Bangsamoro and abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday certified the proposed bill as urgent, allowing both chambers to pass their versions of the measure and skip the three-day rule from passage on the second reading to the third reading in legislation.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is a fulfillment of a 2014 peace deal between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, was presented by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to the president in July and was transmitted by Duterte to the Senate and Congress the following month.

The Senate’s version of the bill is way different from the original proposal of the BTC as it underwent a series of revisions to address its constitutional challenges.

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While the second regular session of Congress adjourned its session Wednesday, the two chambers will hold a bicameral conference committee meeting during the break to be able to reconcile the conflicting provisions.

The committee members are composed of the bill’s staunchest supporters and worst critics.

They are expected to ratify the reconciled version during the opening of the third regular session of the 17th Congress on the morning of July 23.

Duterte, in turn, can sign it into law in time for his State of the Nation Address in the afternoon on that day. (T/RS5/RS1)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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