MANILA, Philippines – Leaders of the Senate and House told President Rodrigo Duterte they aim to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by the end of May this year.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a Facebook post, said this was what was discussed during Duterte's meeting with lawmakers on Tuesday night, March 13.
"Congressional Leaders: target date for BBL is May 30, 2018," said Roque on Facebook.
Present in the meeting were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Senators Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Vicente Sotto III, Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, 5th District of Pangasinan Representative Amado Espino Jr, and Tawi-Tawi Representative Ruby Sahali, among others.
During the gathering, Duterte emphasized the urgency of passing the BBL, one of his major campaign promises.
Roque quoted the President as saying: "We cannot fail on this (BBL). The next generation is counting on us."
Duterte previously promised to certify the BBL as urgent but has not yet done so. It was also not among the 28 priority legislative measures of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council. (READ: Duterte to MILF: BBL still a priority)
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders had previously insisted the BBL be passed this year after Duterte said he was not confident all provisions in the proposed law abided by the 1987 Constitution.
Members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), the Duterte-formed body that drafted the new BBL draft, want the BBL passed before the ratification of a new constitution.
Duterte, during the Tuesday meeting, had said the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) that will propose a new federal constitution can provide a "template" for the BBL, according to Roque.
Con-Com Chairman Reynato Puno had asked BTC members to submit a BBL draft based on a possible federal system of government in the Philippines. – Rappler.com