SEN. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., has vowed to make the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as a top priority even as he and Senate President Franklin Drilon agreed to immediately sit down and determine the best way to expedite the process.
Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, said they need to carefully plan the schedule of the BBL to make sure that it will not interfere with the ongoing budget deliberation.
“We will immediately meet and put out for ourselves a schedule so that we don’t waste any time. I think in the Senate, we can always figure out an accelerated hearing schedule, since we are fewer,” he explained.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd is reviewing the draft law which was submitted to him by the Office Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) on Aug 20.
The President is expected to certify the bill as urgent for Congress to speed up its passage.
Traditionally, deliberations on other measures in the Senate are suspended once discussions on the proposed budget start.
But since the BBL law is also important in so far as the lawmakers and the administration are concerned, the Senate has to squeeze in the BBL hearings.
Marcos said he plans to conduct hearings in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to allow all concerned parties to participate in the process.
Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th for his part said he expects the process to take a long time because it would be the first time that Congress will see the proposed Bangsamoro law.
Even if the peace panel was able to iron out all the issues and the President agreed with it, Congress would still go back to square one because lawmakers need to thoroughly review the draft, Trillanes said.
Marcos earlier said Congress expects to pass the BBL and submit it to the President for signature by the end of March 2015.