MANILA (UPDATED) - President Rodrigo Duterte has certified the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as urgent, his spokesperson said Tuesday.
“After much deliberation, the President has decided to make the House and Senate versions of the BBL as urgent and copy of it is on its way to both Houses of Congress,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
“Once both chambers have reconciled & finalized the version, the President will sign the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”
Duterte certified as urgent the proposed law following his meeting with lawmakers, Moro leaders and some cabinet members at the Palace Monday night.
When a bill is certified as urgent, there is no need to wait for the 3-day period between the second and third readings before it gets passed.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said Senate and House leaders agreed to “conclude their work at the earliest possible time” and reconcile their conflicting versions of the bill.
He said the President met with leaders of Congress and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) separately to discuss the bill.
“The President initially expressed his personal views and initial assessment which resonated well to all,” Dureza said in a statement.
Roque, on the other hand, said both versions, although different, sends a message and will just be revised along the way.
“I think that sends the message. Na maski magkaibang bersiyon, importante ang BBL, ayusin na lang sa bicameral. Iyon ang importante,” Roque said during his speech in Camp Crame.
The Bicameral Conference Committee report on the BBL will be submitted for ratification by Congress in their respective plenary sessions on July 23, 2018, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said.
Fariñas said the BBL could be signed into law in time for Duterte's State of the Nation Address on the same date.
Roque, however, said he cannot confirm as of this time whether the BBL will be signed in time for the next SONA.
“Sana po. Gaya niyan, hindi ako makasagot kasi nga until it’s there, hindi ko masabi. Until I have the document, 'yun ang aming policy sa spokesperson office. Until na document is there, we cannot actually confirm or deny. So, let´s hope na that by SONA, it will be signed. But until it´s there,” Roque said.
(I cannot say whether it will be signed (in time for the next SONA). Until I have the document, that's our policy in the spokesperson office. Until na document is there, we cannot actually confirm or deny. So, let´s hope that by SONA, it will be signed.)
The BBL, which would serve as the enabling law of the 2014 landmark peace deal between the government and the MILF, aims to grant greater autonomy to the Bangsamoro region.
It failed to pass under the previous administration as provisions in earlier versions faced questions on constitutionality.
Duterte earlier warned of war if BBL fails to pass yet again, saying it was key to addressing "historical injustices" committed against the Moros. - with a report from Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News