Bangsamoro plebisicite ahead of 2016 elections

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THE plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Region will be conducted ahead of the 2016 Presidential polls, a Palace official said Saturday.

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Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda made the announcement in light of the disclosure of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Region could coincide with the 2016 Presidential polls for a very packed schedule for the poll body.

The Bangsamoro Region is a result of the Framework Peace Agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“The plebiscite will happen before 2016. That is what is in the calendar,” Lacierda told Radyo ng Bayan.

The Bangsamoro Region will be established through the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which will be drafted by the Transaction Commission.

The Commission will then submit the BBL to the President for his approval prior to its submission to the Congress.

“Once the Executive submits the draft [of the]Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress, it will be certified as urgent. Senator Drilon already said that they hope to finish the bill before the year ends. Once it is done, the plebiscite will immediately follow,” Lacierda pointed out.

“After the plebiscite, a Bangsamoro Transition Authority will be hopefully in place by 2015. Then we’ll synchronize it with the 2016 national elections. By 2016, we will have the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (Bangsamoro Region),” he added.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of Quezon City earlier said that he wants the draft of the BBL submitted to the House of Representatives by March so that the Congress can approve the measure by June or the end of the First Regular Session of Congress.

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