Manila Bulletin – Not enough time; leave BBL to next administration – Marcos

By Hannah Torregoza | Manila Bulletin

ManilaBulletinOnlineSaying there is insufficient time left to pass the measure, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, said the burden of passing the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should be passed on by President Aquino to the next administration.

Marcos, who heads the Senate committee tasked to review and improve Malacañang’s draft of the BBL, said he will not be able to submit the committee report on the BBL on Monday, August 3, when senators meet to discuss the measure and other Senate priority legislation in a caucus.

“I need two or three more whole days to draft the bill. I don’t care if they say I’m deliberately stalling its passage. They’ve always been saying that and I’m used to it already. But it’s not so simple to finish this measure,” Marcos said.

Congress is struggling to pass the measure before October sets in, the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Until now, Marcos said his committee is still in the process of including new amendments and entertaining additional position papers. This is why he is having a hard time beating the deadline, he said.

He also pointed out that the controversial measure is rife with constitutional infirmities and complicated provisions, particularly the sections pertaining to economic requirements, power sharing, and decommissioning of armed combatants.

“Akala ko talaga matatapos (na kami) eh pero noong napunta naman kami dun sa power-sharing and economic provision and the transitory phase, medyo mahirap, kasi karamihan dun bago, eh. You’re designing this whole thing (I really though we’d be done with it, but when we reached the power-sharing and economic provision and the transitory phase (of the BBL), it was quite difficult because these (provisions) are new),” he said.

Adding to the problem is the holding of a plebiscite, which, according to the senator, is no easy feat.

“Mahirap yun. Kasi pag pasa ng batas, six months para mag-prepare ng voters’ list. Asan na tayo noon? Alangan naman uupo yung (Bangsamoro) Transition Commission ng one month lang? (That’s difficult, because when you pass the measure into law, you need six months to prepare the voters’ list. Where are we by then? It’ll be impossible for the BTC to perform their task for just a month),” Marcos said.

The country would already be in the middle of preparations for the May, 2016, presidential elections, he said.

Apart from the BBL, Congress is also set to pass the proposed P3.002-trillion national budget for 2016 which President Aquino’s allies in both the Senate and House of Representatives vow to enact into law before the year ends.

For such a complicated bill, the BBL‘s passage should not be rushed, in order that it will pass the scrutiny of the Supreme Court and, at the same time, satisfy the peace agreement between the government peace panel and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Marcos said.

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