No need for special session on BBL, passage eyed by Mar. 21

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

November 28, 2017, 3:12 pm

MANILA -- House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas on Tuesday said there is no need to hold a special session to tackle the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as the House aims for the bill's passage by March 21.

"With respect to the BBL, the Speaker (Pantaleon Alvarez) has given his commitment to the President that we will finish it before we adjourn on March 21," Fariñas said in an ambush interview.

Fariñas said the House committees would be conducting public consultations in the involved areas and affected stakeholders. The three House committees handling the BBL are the local government, peace and reconciliation, and Muslim affairs.

"The committee has set a schedule to go around the involved areas and stakeholders... Kung mag-special session, hindi naman namin pwedeng i-compress lahat ng schedule na iyun, (If there's a special session, we can't compress all the schedule)," he said.

"We will request the President na siguro hindi na kailangan ng special session (that maybe there's no need for a special session). We will try to finish it before we adjourn on March 21," he added.

During his speech at the Bangsamoro assembly in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, President Duterte laid out the plan to request the Senate and the House of Representatives for the special session.

From his end, Duterte said he seeks a solution that is inclusive: "Wala dapat maiwan sa peace talks na ito. MILF, MNLF, Moro, lahat Lumad dapat kasali. Dapat maibigay ang arrangement na acceptable sa kanila."

The BBL is part of the process to implement the political track of the peace deal -- Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro -- signed between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.

BBL's passage into law will signal the creation of the Bangsamoro government that is parliamentary in structure, to be managed by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. (PNA)