With only two session days left before Congress takes a break, there is no more hope that the Bangsamoro bill will be approved within the year as Malacañang had earlier wished.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. himself admitted that there is no assurance that the proposed law creating the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region will be passed before Congress goes on its Christmas break. The last session day is on December 18.
The bill is currently in the period of interpellation and debate in the Senate.
“Wala naman kaming balak realistically to pass it in the next three days (We don’t have any plan of passing it in the next three days),” Belmonte told reporters, adding that many lawmakers have yet to interpellate.
The House and the Senate had vowed to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by December 16. However, the lower chamber had been bogged down with quorum problems.
“Siguro gagawa ako ng maliit na group to accept all proposed amendments nang madiscuss kaagad pagka nagkita-kita kami (Maybe I will create a small group that will accept all proposed amendments so that we can discuss them when we are back in session),” Belmonte said.
He however is hopeful that interpellations will be finished soon so that the measure can be passed before President Benigno Aquino 3rd steps down next year.
“There are two houses, I speak for only one House. Dito sa House naming (In our House), we will do our best to do it,” Belmonte said.
“Unlike the Senate which is a completely different draft, we are still working on the basis of the original draft. As I mentioned earlier, mahigit 50 na ang nagawa naming amendments to it, the most important is the option to come in at some future time. Ito, isang desisyunan lang, you’re either in or out,” he added.
On December 8, Aquino met with lawmakers to make a final push for the passage of the proposed measure that will create the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, in lieu of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao.
There were reports that the President offered the lawmakers a package of benefits but the Palace had denied it.