Malacañang on Tuesday insisted that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should be passed within President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s term, rejecting calls to leave the job to the next administration.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Aquino Administration will not give up in pushing for the passage of the BBL despite statements from other officials that it should be left to the President’s successor.
For one, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano has aired concerns that pushing for the BBL in the remaining six months of the Administration might impact on the May 2016 elections.
“Hindi natitinag ang determinasyon ng pamahalaan na itaguyod ang prosesong pangkapayapaan sa pama¬magitan ng pagpasa sa BBL [The government’s determination in pushing for the peace process has not wavered. We will continue to push for the passage of the BBL],” Coloma said in a text message.
Earlier, President Aquino said even with only six months remaining in his term, he remains optimistic that the BBL will be passed.
According to him, the BBL is necessary to be passed at the soonest possible time to ensure “inclusive governance” in southern Mindanao, the country’s second-biggest group of islands.
“Each time I speak about Mindanao, I mention how the goal for our Administration is to transform it, from the Land of Promise, to the Land of Promises Fulfilled, and over the past few years, we have seen the beginnings of this transformation. You have heard me say before that the mode of governance is so dependent [on]ARMM [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao)] on having the right leader,” Aquino said.
“We need to make sure that his region has a framework that can truly make good, inclusive governance the norm rather than the exception. This is why we need to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the soonest possible time. For my part, I believe it would certainly push Mindanao, and the Philippines, further into the global spotlight,” he added.
The President said he was set to meet again with lawmakers to push for the passage of the measure that would create an expanded ARMM.
The meeting is scheduled just a month after Aquino made what several lawmakers described as an “emotional” pitch for the approval of the BBL, the proposed law that embodies the government’s peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Despite the December meeting attended by more than a hundred lawmakers, the House of Representatives still failed to consistently muster a quorum needed to resume plenary deliberations on the BBL before Congress went on its holiday break.
Congress is scheduled to resume its session on January 19 until February 5 and will go on a long break during the campaign period for the 2016 national and local elections.