ARMM official lauds Senate on BBL talks

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COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: Lawyer Laisa Masuhud Alamia, executive secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Tuesday commended the Senate for starting the much-anticipated plenary debates on the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR).

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“The public, especially the people in the ARMM, have been waiting for the Senate to tackle on the floor the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law). We are happy that they finally proceeded on Monday and we anticipate dynamic and meaningful debates in the coming days,” said Alamia.

The BLBAR is the BBL version drafted by the Senate committee on local government headed by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who answered the inquiries of his fellow legislators.

Alamia also voiced hope that the plenary deliberation would include a review of the deleted and altered provisions of the original BBL draft.

“Despite our opposing views on certain matters in the BBL, we respect Senator Marcos for having worked so hard on this legislative measure. We just hope that he and all the other senators will take into consideration the letter and spirit of the original draft in relation to the CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro),” she said.

Alamia welcomed the suggestion, commenting that a strong fiscal autonomy was vital if senators were serious in establishing a regional government in accordance with the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

The ARMM budget is part of the annual General Appropriations Act that needs to be defended each year. However, the annual block grant in the Bangsamoro bill, meanwhile, sets the budget of the regional government based on a formula that will free its would-be leaders from facing Congress each year.

“With the automatic appropriation, you’ll know more or less how much you’ll have for a fiscal year and that has significant positive impact on public administration,” explained Alamia.

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