Sotto eyes passing Bangsamoro law next week

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2018 04:43 PM

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MANILA - The Senate might be able to pass on third and final reading its version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law before it adjourns for recess, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Thursday.

The chamber finished its period of interpellation on Wednesday and would proceed to the period of amendments by Monday, where they would still allow further clarifications, he said.

If certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte, Sotto said they could "do away with the 3-day rule and we can approve it on third reading by Tuesday or Wednesday the latest."

"In the Senate, I think we will be able to come up with a conservative but well-crafted proposal for a Bangsamoro Law. The House is much closer to what the BTC (Bangsamoro Transition Commission) submitted," he told reporters.

"The bicam (bicameral committee from both Houses of Congress) would take a lot of time, I think, but we’re also optimistic that if the President sees the Senate version, we might get the support in many proposals that we would want," he said.

Sotto said the BBL, if enacted into law, could be the "template" for the federal regions should the Philippines shift government form.

"Baka yun ang maging template so kung masyadong kung ano-ano ang ibigay natin…baka pag pinag-usapan na yung federalism at naging template into ay walang matitira sa national government," he said.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas earlier said the chamber aims to approve a proposed BBL by the end of the current session on May 30.

Duterte recently spoke of the urgency to pass the BBL, a measure that would implement the peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014 and is seen to as a tool to end the decades-long separatist violence in Mindanao.

A Palace official said the chief executive would certify the proposals as urgent "anytime soon."