Malacañang on Monday admitted that time is running out on having the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) enacted under the Aquino administration.
“Patuloy tayong nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga lider ng Kongreso hinggil sa napapanahong pagpasa ng Bangsamoro Basic Law [We continue to get in touch with Congress leaders about the timely passage of the BBL],” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told reporters in a news conference.
“Batid natin na habang lumalaon ay umiikli ‘yung panahon para matamo ang layuning ito, ngunit kinakailangan pa ring kilalanin ‘yung kahalagahan ng pagtataguyod sa proseso ng pangkapayapaan [We know the time needed to attain this objective is getting shorter, but we need to recognize the importance of supporting the peace process],” he said.
Coloma’s statements came after House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the passage of the BBL in the chamber is becoming an “impossible dream.”
“The real problem is that time is running out because there are so many who want to interpellate, which is their right, and it’s the right of the leadership of the House to terminate [plenary deliberations]or to limit it if we have the numbers,” Belmonte told radio dzBB over the weekend.
“Our version of the BBL, which is of course still subject to further amendments on the floor, has no reason not to be passed or not to be taken up to the point of voting on it. If I can bring it up to that point [voting], that’s what I’m after,” he said.
The chamber, according to Belmonte, is expected to finish its committee deliberations on the proposed national budget in the next weeks and start plenary debates before the end of the month or early October so the BBL must be passed before that time.
He said the Senate has also started deliberations on its version of the BBL but will start tackling the budget by November.
“The notion that you can get the Senate and the House to agree on a version before we concentrate on the budget is really becoming an impossible dream,” Belmonte added.
“But we still have to go at it to show that peace in Mindanao as exemplified by the BBL is our continuing concern and it will still get a big chunk of our time,” he said.
The BBL, which seeks to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao, is a product of negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd was supposed to present the BBL in May 2014 but submitted it in September.
The administration-dominated Senate and House were expecting to pass the BBL in the first quarter of this year but the tragic January 25 Mamasapano (Maguindanao) incident greatly reduced public support for the measure.