The Bangsamoro Basic Law was not on the agenda at the resumption of legislative sessions at the House of Representatives on Monday following a break of more than a month.
Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales 2nd of Mandaluyong said the House leadership could not craft a timeline since the Palace had yet to submit the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“We thought we will be able to receive it by March or April. But as of today, we haven’t received any so we don’t know the timeline [for its passage]yet,” Gonzales told reporters.
The Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will establish a Bangsamoro Region replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), is a product of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) inked by the Philippine government and the ex-separatist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The CAB provides four annexes on transitional modalities, power sharing, wealth sharing and decommissioning of MILF combatants.
“The longer the delay, [the more]we won’t be able to promise how long it is going to take the committee to take it up in time for our sine die adjournment by June 11,” Gonzales added.
The Bangsamoro Transition Commission submitted the draft basic law to the Palace on April 22 for the Executive department’s review.
Gonzales, however, assured all concerned that the draft law was a priority for both the House and the Senate.
“Once we receive the copy of the proposed Bangsamoro bill, then we give ourselves—meaning the leadership of the Senate and House— one week to go over it and then we meet for one week [to discuss]how to proceed,” he said.
Once the Bangsamoro Basic Law is approved by the House and the Senate, it will be signed into law by the President. A referendum will then be held to determine the provinces to be included in the Bangsamoro Region.