Committee report on BBL hurdles House joint panels

MANILA Three House panels on Tuesday approved the committee report on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) without any amendments.

The House committee on Muslim affairs, voting 27-3, committee on local government, voting 32-3, and the special committee on peace, unity and reconciliation, voting 27-3, approved the committee report on House Bill 6475 or the BBL.

HB 6475, authored by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, provides for the BBL and seeks the abolition of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The bill is based on the proposal submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

It aims to establish a political entity, provide for its basic structure of government in recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people and their aspiration to chart their political future through a democratic process that will secure their identity and posterity and allow for a meaningful self-governance.

In an interview, Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas said the House will approve the BBL before Congress adjourns sine die on May 30.

"We are targeting to approve the BBL on May 30, we have also created a small committee to hear more from the pro- and anti-BBL," Farinas said.

For her part, Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan called on President Duterte to certify the bill as urgent and expedite its passage before the sine die adjournment.

We are hoping that the President will certify the BBL as an urgent measure for Congress to expedite its passage into law before we adjourn sine die. This will be the best gift for us as we celebrate the Holy Muslim month of Ramadan, said Sangcopan.

Under the bill, the Bangsamoro territory shall remain a part of the Philippines.

The Bangsamoro territory shall be composed of the following:

* The present geographical area of the ARMM;

* The municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagolan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte and all other barangays in the municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit, and Midsayap that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite;

* The cities of Cotabato and Isabela;

* And all other contiguous areas where there is resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least 10 percent of the registered voters in the area asking for their inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the Basic Law and the process of delimitation of the Bangsamoro.

The measure also retains the central government's power and control over defense and external issue.

The central government shall create a Bangsamoro Military Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the Bangsamoro, which shall be organized, maintained, and utilized in accordance with national laws.

A Bangsamoro Police, under the Philippine National Police, shall also be created for law enforcement and maintenance of peace and order in the Bangsamoro. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency