Palace remains optimistic for creation of new Bangsamoro gov’t under Aquino administration

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Sept. 24 (PNA) — Despite the new Dec. 12 deadline for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, Malacanang remains optimistic that a new Bangsamoro political entity will be established under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

”Under the new timeline, if it (BBL) will be enacted into law in December, will still have enough time for the President to appoint members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and for the holding of plebiscite,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a media briefing Thursday.

Coloma said Macalanang understands that both the Senate and the House have to scrutinize carefully the proposed Bangsamoro bill to make sure it would stand any legal opposition in the future.

”We should understand the process of passing a bill. It is open and democratic. According to the Congress leaders, there are still lawmakers who wanted to join interpellation and we respect their rights because they were elected by the people,” he explained.

Coloma said another hindrance for the early passage of the BBL is the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2016.

”The Congress have to give top priority for the passage of the GAA so that it will become effective right in the first day of 2016,” Coloma said.

”That’s why, we acknowledge that reality. Anyway, the leadership of Congress has assured that aside from the GAA, they are also giving priority on the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” he added.

The previous deadline set by Senate and Congress to pass the BBL was first week of October in time for the filing of the certificate of candidacy (CoC) for the 2016 national and local elections.

However, the Senate and the House reportedly agreed to set new deadline on Dec. 12 due to its numerous questionable provisions and to give way the deliberations on the 2016 national budget.

Coloma said under the concept of the Bangsamoro, the BTA will replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) if the BBL will be enacted into law before the end of the year.

”Even (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Htaman has expressed readiness to follow if it provided in the law,” Coloma said.

The members of House of Representatives have agreed to stop the plenary debates on the BBL to give way to the floor deliberations on the proposed PhP3.002-trillion national budget for 2016.

The Senate, on the other hand, is still holding plenary debates on the BBL’s substitute bill, Basic Law on Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) under the sponsorship of Senate committee on local government chairman Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The 2016 national budget is still being discussed at the Senate finance committee. (PNA)