By Hannah Torregoza | Manila Bulletin
The Senate will try to finish deliberations on the proposed Bangsamoro basic law (BBL) early next year and before lawmakers become busy with the upcoming May 2016 elections.
This was Senate President Franklin Drilon’s promise saying members of the upper chamber are keen on passing the law as early as possible in the first six months of 2015, before the election campaign season sets in.
The Senate had to set aside deliberations on the Bangsamoro measure in order to give way to deliberations and passage into law of the proposed P2.606-trillion 2015 national budget.
Passage of the Bangsamoro into law will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“The coming year would be a busy year. We will try to finish 90 percent of our work in the 16th Congress before campaign starts. We only have one year and a half to go and everyone would be campaigning,” Drilon said.
“It would already be difficult to pass bills. So before the first six months of the 2015 ends we will finish the Bangsamoro basic law. That measure is very important to secure peace for our people in Mindanao,” Drilon said.
The Senate chief earlier urged his colleagues to set aside political bickering and individual political aspirations for 2016 for the “sake of achieving lasting peace in Mindanao.”
Drilon had said he is confident the Senate can meet its self-imposed deadline, which is during the first quarter of 2015, in passing the BBL.
PUBLIC HEARINGS IN MINDANAO
But even before the Senate started working on the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA), the Senate Committees on Local Government and Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, chaired by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, respectively, had conducted public hearings in Southern Mindanao, particularly in the provinces that would be covered by the proposed law.
Marcos said there is a need to strengthen the language of the BBL in order to make sure that the 36,000 workforce of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will not end up a collateral damage once the ARMM is abolished and replaced by the Bangsamoro entity.