‘We are running out of time to pass BBL,’says Marcos

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Dec. 16 (PNA) – Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos on Wednesday admitted that the Senate as well as House of Representatives has been running out of time to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the present 16th Congress.

”I think we have ran out of time,” Marcos said in a media interview.

Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile was supposed to continue his interpellation on the Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR), a Senate substitute bill to the BBL, on Wednesday.

However, the Senate adjourned for a month-long Christmas break without tackling the BLBAR.

The third regular session of the 16th Congress will resume on Jan. 18 next year but will take another break on Feb. 5 to give way to the campaign period for the May 9 elections.

Marcos expects the forthcoming election campaign would further derail the passage of the BBL under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

”Today is the last session day for this year. I think, we can reasonably expect that during our short session, the House will not be able to get quorum because I’m sure 99 percent of them are candidates and for one thing or another, they will be campaigning already by that time,” Marcos explained.

Marcos said the Senate, particularly his committee on local government, has been working hard to pass a constitutional version of BBL but “the House is killing it.”

”Congress is not delaying it, they don’t want the BBL,” Marcos said, referring to the House’s failure to tackle the contentious issue of the measure due to lack of quorum.

Marcos the BBL passage encountered delay “because the version submitted by Malacanang has a lot of unconstitutional provisions.”

He said if the present Congress will not be able to pass the BBL, “I’m hoping the next administration will pursue the peace process by adopting our version.”

”They can use the work that was done previously by the committee. The peace process must continue. We must find the solution to the violence and the fighting in Mindanao. It is not a local issue. It is a national issues,” Marcos said.

”We have been working on it (BBL) for over a year, and I can say, it was our best effort when we came out with a substitute bill,” he added.

He said the BLBAR was a version of the BBL that “could bring us as close as we can to true and lasting peace in Mindanao.” (PNA)