Bicam approves BBL PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 July 2018 16:32

By Liza A. Jocson

The Bicameral Conference Committee passed the harmonized version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law which is now entitled, “ The Organic Law for the Bangsamoro of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” last Wednesday.

The new law was passed after six days  of deliberation and efforts to reconcile Senate Bill 1717 and House Bill 6475 by members of the committee.

The passage of the new law thus creates the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region to replace the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority will be created and will be headed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri said that provisions are in place to include the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Committee members are expected to submit a draft of the bill to President Rodrigo Duterte for approval.

Once the draft is approved by the President, both houses of Congress will ratify their respective versions in preparation for the formal signing of the bill into law.

President Duterte is expected to sign the bill into law before his third State of the Nation Address on July 23.

A plebiscite will be conducted within three to five months to have the law ratified.

Senator Zubiri expects the plebiscite to be conducted this November followed by the appointment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority members.

Among the most significant features of the law are provisions on self-governance and fiscal autonomy.

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region will have a parliamentary form of government which will be headed by a chief minister and two deputy ministers.

The parliament itself will be represented by political party representatives, parliamentary district representatives, sectoral representatives and reserved seats for the indigenous group.

Meanwhile, the bicameral committee maintains the delivery of around P60-billion in block grants to the Bangsamoro.

The figure represents 5% of the country’s internal revenue which will be automatically released to the Bangsamoro region.  (L. Jocson)