Lawmakers from the north and south are calling for the speedy approval of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) once House sessions resume next week.
“We need to speed up the approval of the BBL,” said Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte, vice chairman of the committee on appropriations.
Concurring was committee on public works and highways vice chairman Sulu 2nd district Rep. Munir Arbison, who reckoned, “Yes of course to once and for all address the problems of Muslim Mindanao.”
The two congressmen – both administration supporters – gave these statements even as President Duterte asked Congress to prioritize the approval of the BBL.
Solons from both chambers of Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) are on the tail end of their seven-week summer break, after which they would restart tackling vital measures such as the BBL.
Sessions are set to resume on May 15.
The enabling law of a 2014 agreement between the Philippine government and secessionist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the proposed BBL primarily aims to usher in a period of peace and prosperity in strife-ridden Mindanao with the creation of a Bangsamoro juridical entity.
The Bangsamoro will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM.
Although aggressively pushed by the Aquino administration, the draft BBL during the previous 16th Congress failed to get Congress approval due to its alleged plethora of unconstitutional provisions.
Villafuerte noted that while the BBL’s passage is key, “this does not mean that we should do it in a haphazard manner.”
“Which is why we need to work overtime so we can go over its provisions and ensure that the law becomes an effective tool in bringing genuine autonomy to our Muslim brothers,” he said.
As such, the Bicolano suggested holding sessions on the BBL bill even on Thursdays and Fridays – days when House members are usually not at work at Batasan Complex in Quezon City. Instead, they are rubbing elbows with constituents in their respective provinces.
“We can hold sessions even on Thursdays and Fridays until late at night to speed up the bill’s approval,” Villafuerte said.
According to him, the finalized version of the BBL should ensure that the Bangsamoro entity would be financially stable enough to undertake economic activities designed to lift its people out of poverty. (Ellson Quismorio)