Bicam misses own deadline on BBL final draft

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 18 2018 12:03 AM | Updated as of Jul 18 2018 09:16 AM

Members of Muslim groups gather in front of Crown Plaza in Ortigas, where the Joint Senate and House Bicameral Committee is conducting its hearing to reconcile amendments to both versions of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/file photo

MANILA - The bicameral conference committee on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) missed its deadline Tuesday to approve the final version of the measure.

However, the bicameral panel is still on track of coming up with a reconciled version of BBL to be approved by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 23, Monday.

"Hindi matatapos today, imposible today. Mahahabol 'yan dahil matatapos namin tomorrow maski hanggang Thursday then we give it to the president," House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said.

"Kung okay sa kaniya, he will approve it. Kung 'di niya approve 'yung version namin, 'di na namin ra-ratify," added Fariñas, co-chair of the bicameral committee.

If Duterte approves the final BBL version, Fariñas said it would be ratified by both chambers, making it ready to be signed into law by the president.

The bicameral panel has already finished Articles 1 to 6 of the proposed measure and will be working on the provision on fiscal autonomy.

The panel's sub-committees will meet on Wednesday morning at the Senate before the full panel reconvenes noontime.

One of the issues that cropped up Tuesday, Fariñas said, was the amendment of the preamble.

The lawmaker said he moved to amend the preamble as the initial wording, which refers to Bangsamoro people, did not make sense.

"Kasi nga 'yung phraseology is not sensible...ang prinopose ko, the Filipino people cognizant of the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people," he said.

Farinas maintained they had to abide by the Constitution in drafting the BBL, which is meant to institutionalize the peace agreement signed by the Aquino administration with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.