A House panel that reviewed the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will start voting on its consolidated version this afternoon. The process is expected to end on Wednesday next week.
The voting will take days because lawmakers have agreed to go through the bill section by section.
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the ad hoc committee on the BBL, said the panel aims “to assure all provisions are constitutional.”
The consolidated version of the Bangsamoro measure includes amendments proposed by Rodriguez, panel members Rep. Anthony del Rosario of Davao del Norte and former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. of the Citizens’ Peace Council.
The ad hoc panel has 75 members.
Voting on the bill was deferred last week after several lawmakers begged for more time to study the measure and insert amendments.
On Sunday, Malacañang expressed optimism that the bill will pass the scrutiny of lawmakers.
“The government’s objective is to pass a meaningful [BBL] that will pursue the peace process. We believe that when they [lawmakers]make their decision, they will take into consideration the national interest and the welfare of the people in Mindanao,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
He added that Congress should first pass the BBL before issues on its constitutionality are raised
“There should be a law first so that a plebiscite may be held to eventually elect the officials of the Bangsamoro political entity,” Coloma said.
He explained that it is only after the measure is passed can it be questioned before the Supreme Court (SC).
“The first process is law-making. The other is interpretation of the law which is a job of the [SC],” Coloma said.
Earlier, government chief negotiator Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said Congress should heed the voice of the majority of the people in the proposed core territory of the Bangsamoro entity, which favors replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“Although the survey indicated that 48 percent of Filipinos may not favor the BBL, it also shows an overwhelming majority of the people in the proposed territory of the Bangsamoro in Mindanao who want it,” she told a forum held at the University of the Philippines where Asia Foundation country director Steven Rood and Social Weather Stations chief Mahar Mangahas presented results of the SWS’ latest poll related to the Mindanao peace process and the BBL.
Ferrer was referring to the SWS survey held in the proposed Bangsamoro core territory and adjoining areas from February 22 to March 1 this year.
The survey showed an overwhelming majority of voters approve of the BBL in the provinces of Maguindanao (83 percent), Lanao del Sur (90 percent), Basilan (59 percent), Tawi-Tawi (52 percent), Cotabato City (76 percent) and adjoining areas in Lanao del Norte and Cotabato province.
Results of a nationwide poll conducted by SWS in March showed that approval rating for the BBL reached only 23 percent while disapproval was measured at 48 percent, with 28 percent undecided.