Aquino’s office still reviewing draft bill for Bangsamoro

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Monday, May 5, 2014

MALACANANG could not give yet a firm commitment as to when the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) would be transmitted to Congress for its action.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Monday said that the draft basic law by the 15-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) is currently being reviewed by the legal team of the Office of the President (OP) and by the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel to determine the propriety for inclusion in the legislative agenda of President Benigno Aquino III.

"This review ensures meticulous and circumspect evaluation that each provision of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law conforms to the Constitution and the signed agreements," he said in a regular press briefing.

Different Muslim groups have been pressing Malacanang to immediately act on the draft BBL as Congress resumed session on Monday.

Asked if the OP could submit the draft BBL to Congress within the month, Coloma said, "Batid po natin ang sense of urgency rito sapagkat batid natin na 'yung timeline ay kinakailangang masunod."

He recalled that Aquino has stated that he wanted the bill to be passed by the end of this year so that the plebiscite in the Bangsamoro territory could be held by first quarter of 2015.

"Kaya batid po natin 'yung kahalagahan na kinakailangang matapos ito. Ganunpaman, tinitiyak na magiging masinop at magiging ganap ‘yung pag-aaral," he said.

Since the review on the draft BBL was still ongoing, Coloma said he has the impression that Aquino has not yet read the document.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives expects to receive the proposed BBL within this week.

"We expect to receive the Bangsamoro basic law within the week and we are targeting to finish this at least in the committee level before we adjourn sine die," House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II said.

Once it reaches the House, the BBL will be referred to the committee on Muslim Affairs chaired by Sulu Representative Tupay Loong.

The BBL will serve as the organic law of the envisioned Bangsamoro government that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on or before 2016. (SDR/John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)

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