No LEDAC meeting yet on Bangsamoro law

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 28 2014 08:21 PM | Updated as of Mar 29 2014 04:21 AM

MANILA - The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) may be an important bill to the Aquino administration, but it may not be worth an immediate meeting of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

The LEDAC is a legislated mechanism for the two branches of government to hammer a common agenda of priority measures.

It is mandated by law to meet regularly. However, President Benigno Aquino has yet to call a LEDAC meeting since the start of the 16th Congress.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte was asked if the president will call for a LEDAC on the BBL. Valte replied that it has not been discussed.

The BBL is expected to be submitted to Malacanang by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) this month.

Valte maintained confidence that it will be submitted to Congress by June, as she earlier announced.

"We are still March 28, there is still time for that. I understand that [Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher] Iqbal did mention early this morning that the BTC already has a working draft but it will have to undergo several processes of review within the BTC itself," she said. "Yes, we are still sticking to that timetable, within that timeline."

Congress has 6 months to work on the bill that is expected to become law by the end of the year for a plebiscite to be held in the Bangsamoro areas.

During the 6 months, the bill is expected to be hounded by quorum woes, lengthy debates, and the deliberations of the 2015 national budget.

Valte holds on to Congressional leaders' assurances that the bill will be prioritized.

Valte, meantime, urged the public to read the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that was signed Thursday. It is available on the government website.

"Though yesterday's signing was a significant step, it is by no means the last. It is our hope that we move forward with confidence and without fear of the unknown," Valte said.

The Palace did not say how much it spent for the signing program at the Kalayaan grounds on Thursday.

"The finance department of the Office of the President is still meeting the final computations. I did make that inquiry early this morning and I am told that they are still doing the numbers.So hopefully by the time that everything is settled, we will be able to give you that number," Valte said.