MANILA -- Senator Juan Edgardo Angara on Tuesday said that it is possible to hold committee hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) this year even without calling for a special session.
Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government, tasked to lead the hearings on the BBL said that it is possible as long as the Senate finishes deliberations on the tax reform for acceleration and inclusion (TRAIN) bill early.
The TRAIN bill seeks to lower personal income tax rates, expand the value-added tax (VAT) base, raise excise taxes on petroleum and automobiles, impose an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and ease the rates of estate and donor's taxes.
It is expected to be passed on third and final reading on Tuesday.
Angara made this remark in reaction to the suggestion of President Rodrigo Duterte to hold a special session as its passage was his "top priority" according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Kung matapos namin ang TRAIN ng maaga we can already have hearings this year (If we finish the TRAIN early, we can already have hearings this year), Angara told reporters in an interview.
I think kaya naman i-meet kahit walang special sessions (I think we can still meet the administration's deadline even without special sessions), he added.
Angara is also chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and has his hands full on deliberations on the TRAIN bill.
Aside from the TRAIN bill, the Senate is also rushing the passage of the PHP3.767-trillion national budget for 2018 before it goes on recess on December 15.
He said that the BBL is still at the committee level and will still need to be discussed among committee members.
Source: Philippine News Agency