In an executive session held by the House committees on local government, Muslim affairs and special panel on peace, reconciliation and unity, BBL proponents pushed for the retention of the central government’s power and control over defense and external security.
Ernie Penaredondo
House panel approves Duterte-backed BBL version
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - April 17, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — While Muslim groups were holding a vigil, a joint committee of the House of Representatives approved yesterday the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that President Duterte wants to implement for a lasting peace in Mindanao.

In an executive session held by the House committees on local government, Muslim affairs and special panel on peace, reconciliation and unity, BBL proponents pushed for the retention of the central government’s power and control over defense and external security.

Members of the three panels voted 2-1 that carried the omnibus motion of House Deputy Speaker Bai Sandra Sema of Maguindanao, which sought to approve House Bill 6475 that was authored by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

The joint panel will resume its hearings on May 15, when Congress resumes sessions.

Lawmakers from the committee on Muslim affairs and peace and reconciliation carried Sema’s motion while the local government panel rejected it.

Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also has her version of the BBL.

Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan of the party-list Anak Mindanao said it is “high time to uphold and pay respect to the previous peace negotiations and signed peace agreements. The Bangsamoro Transition Commission-drafted BBL is the conglomeration of all these peace agreements.”

“We reiterate and call on the legislature to: respect all peace agreements, adopt the BTC version of the BBL, justly address the concern and welfare of the bona fide, qualified and permanent workers in the ARMM, and finally, to maintain the stance of peace as the only option to address just and lasting peace in Mindanao and the entire country,” she said.

The House committee on local government was the lead committee tasked to deliberate on the proposed BBL, in cooperation with the committees on peace and reconciliation and Muslim affairs.

Also yesterday, Anak Mindanao started its four-day vigil near the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City to push lawmakers to pass a genuine BBL for just and lasting peace.

The Mindanao-based party-list group, represented by Reps. Makmod Mending Jr. and Sangcopan, held a “vigil for peace” at the South Gate of the Batasang Pambansa Complex starting Monday to Thursday.

The group urged the joint House committees on local government, Muslim affairs and special committee on peace, reconciliation and unity to consider and respect all peace agreements as they deliberate on the proposed BBL.

The BBL was supposed to be the legal framework of the peace deal signed between the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The proposal failed to get the approval of Congress amid concerns of unconstitutional provisions and the furor over the January 2015 Mamasapano clash that resulted in the death of 44 members of the elite Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police.

BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RODRIGO DUTERTE
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