If the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not passed by December, then it is the end of the road for it, according to Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
He, however, said on Tuesday that he still hopes that the proposed creation of a new autonomous Bangsamoro region in place of ARMM will come to fruition.
“The BBL is now in the plenary of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Once it has hurdled second reading, then it is almost done because voting will follow,” Hataman added.
A former congressman, he ran and won as governor in the 2013 elections. Hataman is seeking reelection in next year’s mid-term polls.
Both chambers are in recess and will resume sessions on November 3.
“I am hopeful that BBL will be passed before the December break. Once it has been certified, it will go to third reading,” Hataman said, adding that the establishment of a new Bangsamoro region is priority agenda of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“After December, lawmakers will be busy campaigning. So, it’s the end for BBL,” the governor said.
He will receive the Best in Governance Award on December 1 from Bulong-Pulungan forum being held at Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City (Metro Manila).
Meanwhile, whether there will be a new autonomous region, the five provinces (Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Magindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi) composing ARMM seem to thrive under Hataman’s leadership.
“So far, we have P6 billion in new investments, mainly in agriculture. That is from zero before I was appointed,” Hataman said.
He was appointed governor in 2011.
According to him, domestic growth improved from negative .301 percent to 3.1 percent.
“It is still low but what is important is we are improving,” he said.
Hataman added that income from tax collections reached P400 million because of mining investments.
ARRM’s share from the Internal Revenue Allotment is P700 million.
Hataman said corruption in the region has been addressed although there are still some irregularities.
“At least, corruption is no longer obvious. All transactions are transparent and you can check them at the website of the Department of Public Works and Highways,” he added.
Another major project that his administration is pursuing is the installation of water systems and ports because the region is composed of several islands.
He admitted that peace and security is still the biggest challenge he is facing as ARMM governor.
“There are kidnappings in Sulu and killings due to rido or family quarrels,” Hataman said, referring to the abductions by the Abu Sayyaf Group.