PRESIDENTIAL Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos-Deles on Monday hinted that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) draft bill may be submitted to Congress this week.
Deles, in a text message, said there have been “substantive movements” that may finally lead to the draft measure’s transmittal to the House of Representatives.
“It’s definitely not stuck. There have been substantive movements in the past weeks leading to a major development this week,” she told The Manila Times.
The proposed legislation was originally scheduled for submission by the end of August. The deadline lapsed.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd has said that if he had his way, the plebiscite for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA) may also be held by the end of the year.
Once enacted, the BBL will be subjected to a plebiscite covering the existing geographical area of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM); the six municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Pantar, Nunungan, Tagaloan and Tangkal in Lanao del Norte; 39 villages in North Cotabato; and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela.
“We are after [the holding of]a plebiscite end of this year, if that can be done. It depends on the discussions in Congress,” Aquino said in a recent interview over Bombo Radyo.
The BBL is the enabling law of the BTA that will pave the way for the new Bangsamoro political entity in Mindanao.
“We are also after a one and a half year [dry run]of the transitional authority to show why it is more appropriate as a system to run the Bangsamoro,” Aquino said.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. confirmed that the President really wants the BBL ratified by the people immediately after its passage.
“He wants to convey a sense of urgency. The earlier the law is passed, the earlier the plebiscite can be held,” he told The Times.
Even while the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), consisting of representatives from the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was still in the thick of preparations for the draft BBL, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had started preparations for the holding of a referendum for the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity practically to save time.
A Sub-Committee on the Bangsamoro Plebiscite—chaired by Commissioner Al Parreño and co-chaired by Commissioner Luie Tito Guia—was formed earlier this year to prepare for the holding of the referendum.
Through the sub-committee, the poll body had begun consultations with stakeholders such as the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and leaders and members of the MILF.
A special task force was also created to oversee, supervise and control the preparations for the conduct of the plebiscite.