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Palace sticking to Bangsamoro law schedule despite delays

Posted on 21 August 2014 by consortium

DESPITE its delayed filing in Congress, Malacañang is still sticking to a self-imposed deadline to have the proposed Bangsamoro basic law (BBL) passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives before the year-end.

“Yes, we are,” Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said on Sunday, when asked if the Palace was confident that the BBL, which would pave the way for the abolition of the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in favor of a new juridical entity, would be ready for signing into law by President Aquino in December.

Coloma told the BusinessMirror that current talks in Davao between the government’s peace negotiators, chaired by Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “seek to thresh out differences and agree on appropriate language.”

This, even as the MILF was reported to have sent signals to the Aquino administration that it would reject a “diluted version” of the proposed BBL that was submitted earlier by a Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

n a separate interview over State-run Radyo ng Bayan, Coloma quoted Coronel-Ferrer reporting that “recent meetings have threshed out the process of ensuring enactment into law of the key provisions” of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The officials, he pointed out, “are working to reach agreement on the precise and proper language to ensure the outcome adheres to the Constitution.”

This will ensure, Coloma explained, “that the bill will not be bogged down by lengthy debates in Congress, especially as to its constitutionality.” He said both sides are aware that the bill must hurdle congressional approval” and that lawmakers would also want to make sure whatever they pass will not face a legal challenge in court.

Speaking in Filipino, Coloma noted: “They also want to craft a bill that will not require constitutional amendments to operationalize, so as to ensure that the peace and development efforts post-BBL will be on track, “so that flow of this process will be continuous based on the peace process road map,” he added.

Coloma also quoted Senate President Frank Drilon as saying lawmakers needed enough time to discuss the key provisions of the bill. This is not an obstacle, he explained, but rather an assurance that Congress is on the same page as President Aquino and MILF Chairman Al-haj Murad in their determination to pursue the peace process to its rightful conclusion.

“This illustrates their sincere wish to have the Bangsamoro Basic Law enacted as soon as possible,” Coloma said.

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