• Govt pushes passage of Bangsamoro law

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    The government is determined to push passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) despite quorum woes besetting the move, particularly in the House of Representatives.

    Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chairman of the government peace panel, on Wednesday said the government has placed its full trust in lawmakers’ ability to pass a “good BBL.”

    “Let’s see today and next week if our legislators will take it upon themselves to see through the passage of a good BBL. I remain hopeful that there will be some movement in the legislative mill by next week,” Ferrer told The Manila Times in a text message.

    She made the statement after the House failed to muster a quorum enough to resume plenary debates on the BBL on Tuesday.

    After the roll call, only 134 of the 287-member chamber were listed as present, prompting the leadership to adjourn the session.

    At least 150 members are needed to constitute a quorum.

    Leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate previously agreed to pass the BBL on December 16, Congress’ last session day before it goes on Christmas break until January 18, 2016.

    The government chief peace negotiator gave assurance that the government would continue to work with Congress for timely passage of the BBL.

    “We continue to engage our legislators,” Ferrer said as she called on the people to exhaust all means to compel the lawmakers to attend plenary sessions to have the BBL and other important bills passed.

    She particularly asked the public to make full use of social media to gather support for the long-delayed peace measure.

    “[We] urge everyone to text blast the members of Congress and use other social media avenues to urge them to be present in Congress,” Ferrer said.

    Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. noted a
    “positive” response from the lawmakers who attended the three-hour closed-door meeting with President Benigno Aquino 3rd in Malacañang on Tuesday.

    A priority measure of Malacañang, the BBL seeks to implement a peace accord signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front last year.

    The measure will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a new Bangsamoro entity with greater economic and political powers.

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