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Senate starts hearing third version of BBL.

MANILA, Philippines The Senate yesterday started its hearings into the third iteration of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which senators vowed to rid of possible constitutional infirmities before passing it within the first quarter of next year. Senate subcommittee on the BBL, chaired by Sen.

Juan Miguel Zubiri, started discussions on the draft submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), and the bill filed by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III that both seek to create a new and more autonomous region in Mindanao and end the decades-old rebellion in the south. "What is important here, I must stress, is peace for the country.

If we don't pass this, the unthinkable may happen and it's something that we do not want to happen," Zubiri told reporters after the initial hearing. He admitted that the deliberations on the BBL will not be "a walk in the park," considering two similar measures the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) during the Arroyo administration and the BBL of the Aquino administration did not pass for various reasons, including their constitutional violations.

He said based on initial examination, the BTC's draft was the "best version to date." The measures are supposed to be tackled by the Senate committee on local government, chaired by Sen.

Sonny Angara, but due to its heavy workload, the chamber allowed the creation of the sub-panel chaired by Zubiri, who is from Mindanao. Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Pimentel and Zubiri said the Senate would heed Duterte's request to come up with a BBL to stand the test of constitutionality before the Supreme Court.

Pimentel said the BBL's passage is no longer debatable, only its possible unconstitutional provisions. "Lawmakers are not expected to knowingly pass an unconstitutional measure.

If there are unconstitutional or objectionable features in the measure, our supreme law will be followed," he said. Angara described the BBL as "an affirmative action towards attaining regional stability and economic development in Mindanao.

" "We must remember that we must build an autonomous region based on justice. We will approach the BBL with sensitivity and awareness of historical injustices," Angara said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said opposition senators would fully support the BBL as they did in the previous administration when they were with the majority bloc. Drilon proposed that a matrix of the features of the MOA-AD, the previous BBL and the present draft be made so that lawmakers will be able to study the measure swiftly.

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:Dec 20, 2017
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