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House sees approval of BBL on May 30.

The House of Representatives is expected to approve this month the proposed measure providing for the Bangsamoro basic law (BBL), which seeks to abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

In an interview with media, Majority Leader Rodolfo C. Farinas Sr. of Ilocos Norte said the lower chamber will approve the BBL before Congress adjourns sine die on May 30.

'We are targeting to approve the BBL on May 30, we have also created a small committee to hear more from the pro- and anti-BBL,' the legislator said.

On Tuesday the House Committee on Muslim Affairs (voting 27 affirmative and three negative), House Committee on Local Government (32-3) and House Special Committee on Peace, Unity and Reconciliation (27-3) endorsed for plenary approval the House Bill (HB) 6475 or the BBL.

The HB 6475, principally authored by Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, is the same as the BBL version submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to Congress. HB 6475 is among the four BBL proposals filed in the House.

For her part, Party-list Rep. Amihilda J. Sangcopan of Anak Mindanao urged President Duterte to certify as urgent the BBL and have this signed into law before Congress adjourns sine die on May 30.

'We are hoping that the President will certify the BBL as an urgent measure for Congress to expedite its passage into law before we adjourn sine die. This will be a best gift for us as we celebrate the Holy Muslim month of Ramadan,' Sangcopan said.

The proposed BBL measure seeks to establish a political entity, provide for its basic structure of the government in recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people and their aspiration to chart their political future through a democratic process that will secure their identity and posterity and allow for a meaningful self-governance.

Under the bill, the Bangsamoro territory shall remain a part of the Philippines.

The measure delineates the core territory of the Bangsamoro to be composed of: 1) the present geographical area of the ARMM; 2) the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagolan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte and all other barangays in the municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit and Midsayap that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite; 3) the cities of Cotabatao and Isabela; and 4) all other contiguous areas where there is resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least 10 percent of the registered voters in the area asking for their inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the Basic Law and the process of delimitation of the Bangsamoro.

To ensure the widest acceptability of the BBL in the core areas, a popular ratification shall be conducted among all the Bangsamoro within the areas for their adoption.

HB 6475 retains the central government's power and control over defense and external security.

It provides that the defense of the Bangsamoro shall be the responsibility of the central government. The central government shall create a Bangsamoro Military Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the Bangsamoro, which shall be organized, maintained and utilized in accordance with national laws.

The measure also calls for the creation of a Bangsamoro Police for law enforcement and maintenance of peace and order in the Bangsamoro but it shall be part of the Philippine National Police.
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:May 15, 2018
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