Bangsamoro law could still be passed–Marcos

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THERE may still be a slim chance for the proposed Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) to be passed, that is if both Houses of Congress could find means to expedite deliberation on the measure, according to Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

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Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government and the sponsor of BLBAR, on Friday said the proposed measure is under interpellation in the Senate.

He added that after the interpellation, he might come up with a compromise with his fellow senators in order for them not to debate on proposed amendments in plenary.

In a statement, Marcos said there is a suggestion for the senators to send him all their proposed amendments to BLBAR and just let the committee propose the changes to expedite the process.

He earlier described as highly unlikely the chances of having the proposed BLBAR approved during the term of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, citing limited time.

Marcos said while Congress still has three weeks to deliberate on the bill upon its return on January, he doubts if the House of Representatives could muster a quorum since a huge majority of its members are candidates in the 2016 elections.

While the Senate has no problems on quorum, an issue the chamber needs to address is whether the BLBAR is of local application.

Senate President Franklin Drilon on Thursday said they will determine if the BLBAR is of local application, which means that it should be passed and enacted first by the House.

The Senate chief added that the chamber decided to take the conservative approach, which is to wait for passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the House before voting on it in the Senate.

But even if the Senate and the House manage to pass the measure, Marcos said, a big hurdle remains as it may prove difficult for the bicameral conference committee to reconcile differing provisions given the limited time.

A possible solution, he added, is for the House to adopt the Senate version or the Senate to adopt the House version in order to avoid lengthy debates during the bicameral conference.

But with or without the passage of BLBAR during this administration, Marcos said, what is important is for all parties to remain committed to the search for peace in Muslim Mindanao and that the quest for peace must continue.

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