Marcos, Rodriguez doubt BBL enacted by 2016

Rachel Hermosura, ANC

Posted at Sep 02 2015 10:09 AM | Updated as of Sep 02 2015 08:17 PM

MANILA - House Ad Hoc Committee Chair Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Senate Local Government Committee Chair Sen. Bongbong Marcos are not too confident that the proposed Bangasmoro measure will be enacted by 2016.

On ANC's "Peace and Justice: A Beyond Politics Special," both lawmakers said the long line of lawmakers awaiting interpellation has stretched the legislative process for the BBL.

Rodriguez added that quorum woes, which have hounded the House since late July, have also delayed the deliberations.

Time is also not on the side of Congress, with the looming marathon deliberations for the proposed 2016 national budget and the upcoming election season.

"The period that we are looking at is on or before September 28. After that, I have believe we'll have a difficult time in passing this bill," Rodriguez said.

Marcos estimated that the Senate interpellation may be finished within three to five weeks -- if the discussion flow improves -- before the BBL moves on to the period of amendments.

"I have to qualify here that it's a very rough estimate," Marcos added.

Despite the timeline odds, government's chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer said it is still possible to pass the BBL if Congress would put in extra effort.

"That's in their power to schedule the process and therefore it's also in their power to fast-track the process," Ferrer said.

Ferrer suggested that the House and the Senate can have extra session days, extend the actual period of interpellation or have 3-4 lawmakers interpellating in one day.

"The real issue now is what we can do to make it happen that that third reading happens within the month of September," Ferrer said.

Rodriguez added that the public will play a big role in giving lawmakers an extra push on the BBL.

"Just ask them to be present," Rodriguez said. "If they're against it, they can vote at the time of voting, but be there to listen to the debates, the interpellations, and provide the quorums so that we can proceed and decide on this."

Marcos agreed.

"Make your feelings known to your representatives, both the congressmen and the senators. Tell them what you think -- tell us what you think of what we have done, tell us what you think should be changed, tell us what you think what is wrong, is right with the bills or the points we are raising. This is terribly important to us."

Ferrer added that it is also important for the public to be on board and to help explain and correct misinformation about the BBL.