By Ben Rosario
A joint House committee yesterday launched deliberations on four versions of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, agreeing to immediately form a body that would consolidate the proposals and submit a single measure next month.
The joint panel is composed of the House Committee on Local Government chaired by Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr (PDP-Laban, South Cotabato); Committee on Muslim Affairs under Rep. Mauyag Papandayan Jr. (PDP-Laban, Lanao del Sur) and Special Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity headed by Rep. Ruby Sahali (NPC, Tawi-tawi).
“This is one of the biggest national priority – the achievement of our aspirations for peace and development,” said Sahali.
Papandayan stressed that enactment of the bill will “put an end” to the bloody armed struggle in Mindanao.
The joint panel has agreed to form a ten-man sub-committee to be headed by Rep.Wilter Palma (NP, Zamboanga Sibugay).
Principal authors of the proposed measures, namely Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez Jr. (PDP-Laban, Davao del Norte); former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; Rep. Bai Sandra Sema (LP, Maguindanao) and Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo (NPC, Lanao del Norte) are automatic members of the newly-created body.
Acharon said the sub-committee is tasked to submit to the joint panel a consolidated bill, saying that the new body has been given a January 16 deadline to submit the report.
However, several solons sounded off misgivings about the deadline, pointing out that there is no way the Palma panel can complete its report with such a short deadline.
Acharon said they have to work under a strict schedule because the House leadership has directed the joint panel to submit its recommendations on or before June 30, 2018.
The veteran lawmaker said the committee will conduct a series of public hearings as soon as the consolidated proposal is completed.
Public hearings will be conducted in Cotabato City, Buluan, Maguindanao; Iligan City, Lanao del Norte: Islamic City of Marawi, Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi, South Cotabato, Davao City and Pagadian City.
In her sponsorship speech of House Bill 92, Sema, who is also co-author of HB 6475, said the measure contains the “original verison of the Bangsamoro Basic Law” that failed to pass the 16th Congress.
Sema said she filed the bill “in order to keep it alive, in order to give hope that this bill has a chance of becoming a law.’
Arroyo said she refiled an exact copy of the bill that was approved on third and final reading in the Senate.
Dimaporo said HB 6263 is a “solo or stand alone” bill which he does not expect to pass.
“The purpose is to place on record the perspective of Lanao del Norte,” he explained.
According to the lawmaker, the House panel has to take into account several salient issues such as the Maute and other insurgencies that require the national government to retain police and military powers.
Dimaporo said the Commission on Audit should also remain with the national government to guarantee good governance.
Tags: Bangsamoro Basic Law, Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Committee on Muslim Affairs, House Committee, House Committee on Local Government, Manila Bulletin, Pantaleon Alvarez Jr., PDP-Laban, President Rodrigo Duterte