Palace OK with Congress target to pass BBL by June

Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2015 - 4:45pm

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Tuesday accepted the new timeframe set by Congress leaders to pass the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by June.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told state-run dzRB radio on Tuesday that given the Congress' schedule, it is "realistic" to see the passage of the BBL during the remaining sessions from May to June.

Congress will be on recess from March 20 to May 3. It will resume session on May 4 and will adjourn again on June 11.

During the regular press briefing in Malacañang, Coloma expressed confidence that Congress will still have ample time to tackle the BBL despite the looming breaks.

Coloma also reiterated that the BBL is expected to hurdle the committee level at the House of Representatives before June.

READ: Palace expects House plenary debates on BBL by May 4

Coloma said ideally, the BBL should be passed much earlier so that the Bangsamoro Transition Authority will have sufficient time to show that it is better than the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

"Kaya lang, mas realistiko tayo. Kinailangan ng mas mahabang konsultasyon doon sa Bangsamoro Basic Law bago pa man naganap yung insidente sa Mamasapano," Coloma said.

The BBL was a result of the comprehensive peace agreement signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front last year.

The controversial measure will specify the power and wealth-sharing arrangements between the national government and the Bangsamoro entity that would replace the ARMM.

But lawmakers have suspended the hearings on the BBL after 44 police commandos were killed in the hands of the MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25.

President Aquino has urged Congress not to abandon the BBL but two senators have withdrawn their support for the measure while other lawmakers seek to amend it.

AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS BANGSAMORO TRANSITION AUTHORITY BBL COLOMA COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY HERMINIO COLOMA JR. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MALACA MAMASAPANO
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