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House leadership optimistic the BBL will be passed into law

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 23:32 PM Mon Jul 27, 2015
Sammy F. Martin/PNA
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr (Speakers office)

MANILA -- The House of Representatives leadership expressed optimism on Monday that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be approved by both chambers of Congress before the end of the 3rd and last regular session of the 16th Congress.Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said they still have enough time to pass the BBL, noting that they have stripped it of all unconstitutional provisions. We are committed to our Muslim brothers to pass the agreement. I think it can pass,” Belmonte told House reporters after the opening session of the last regular session of the 16th Congress.Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, House Ad Hoc Committee chairman, said that the possible timeline to pass the measure is by the middle of September. We can still catch up before the budget issue of BBL goes to plenary and I am optimistic we can beat the timeline,” Rodriguez said in a separate interview.He said that by August, all budget issues will be tackled in the committee level and before it reaches the plenary, they can polish the needed fund.The panel chairman admitted that they could not approve the original proposed measure because there were some provisions that violate or contradict the Constitution. We remove all unconstitutional provisions so it is easy for us now to convince the 75-man members of the Ad Hoc committee to pass it on second and third reading,” he pointed out.He said that the bill can be considered now as creating an enhanced Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao after they decided to make constitutional offices as regional in nature and the police force with the armed forces does not need to seek clearances but directly under the supervision of the headquarters. The beauty of the bill is it has additional key positions which are not present in the present setup of the ARMM,” he explained.In the original bill, they wanted to have separate constitutional offices like the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections, Human Rights, Securities and Exchange Commission and the likes.They are also asking for separate Police and Armed Forces which are not directly under the supervision of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.Policemen and soldiers needing to coordinate first with the Bangsamoro before they can operate within the region is no longer allowed in the proposed measure, Rodriguez said. (PNA)SCS/SFM and//

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