The House of Representatives has yet to resolve contentious issues of the opt-in provision in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), a lawmaker said Monday.
Rep. Makmod Mending, Jr. of Anak Mindanao party-list was referring to the provision which states that other contiguous areas where there is a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least 10 percent of the registered voters asking for their inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the law will be included in the Bangsamoro Region provided that the majority of the votes cast in each of these local government units vote in favor of their inclusion in the Bangsamoro Region.
The BBL, a product of the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), abolishes the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Last month, Bangsamoro Transition Commission members and Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as well as Jose Lorena and Datu Omar Yasser Sema stood firm on the inclusion and legality of the opt-in provision.
“We are yet to finalize the opt-in provision on the substitute bill. Of course, the lawmakers from areas which will be affected by this provision are concerned and it is still a contentious issue. We will vote on this, and the vote will be separate for each committee,” Mending told reporters.
He was referring to the House Committee on Local Government, Muslim Affairs and Peace, Reconciliation and Unity which are conducting joint hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro measure.
“Each of the Committee [involved]will vote, and what would have the majority vote [in three combined committees]is the provision that will be carried,” Mending said.
He allayed fears that the BBL will diminish other municipalities.
He clarified that the Bangsamoro bill’s opt-in provision is not whimsical and won’t expand more than it should.
The six municipalities in Lanao del Norte — Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal—which already voted yes in their inclusion in the ARMM in a plebiscite in 2001,are included under the new Bangsamoro Region and thus, would not be covered by the opt-in provision.
“The proposal is clear: the opt in will only cover contiguous areas to the ARMM. The buzz that Palawan could be included is not true,” Mending said.