By Genalyn Kabiling
The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be signed by President Duterte before his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23 following an end to the impasse on certain contentious issues of the bill.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced the breakthrough on the efforts to pass the BBL after the President met with the bicameral conference committee members in Malacañang.
“Pleased to announce that the President facilitated the passage of the BBL by convincing the two Houses of Congress to adopt the House version of the BBL,” Roque said in a statement sent to reporters.
“PRRD will sign the BBL law before the SONA,” he added.
Roque said the impasse on the BBL provision on territory has been “resolved.”
By adopting the House version, Roque said the six municipalities of Lanao Del Norte and the 39 barangays of North Cotabato could “vote to join the BBL territory in a referendum to be conducted on the mother territory of the areas involved.”
“With the President’s intervention citing constitutional provisions and the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Umali, the passage of the BBL has been assured,” he added.
The bicameral panel members earlier decided to consult the President in resolving the deadlock on territory and plebiscite issues.
The Senate version includes a provision that allows the concerned villages and municipalities to join the envisioned Bangsamoro region following a plebiscite.
The House version, on the other hand, stated that the local government units may join the territory based on the majority vote of the province.
Among the lawmakers present in the meeting were Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, House Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas, and Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Sonny Angara.
Also present were Roque, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza.