“HoR to give priority to draft Bangsamoro Law” – Speaker Alvarez

The House of Representatives will give priority to the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) once the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) submits it to Congress,  MindaNews quoting Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez saying yesterday.

Alvarez told MindaNews Sunday afternoon that as soon as the draft is submitted to them, “we are going to schedule (it) for successive committee hearings. We will make it our priority,” he said.

Alvarez is confident the bill will be passed immediately if Pres. Duterte certifies the bill as urgent. “Conservatively, in the House, give me a month or two” to pass it, he said.

On March 27, 2014, the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). The agreement provides that the draft BBL submitted by the BTC “shall be certified as an urgent bill by the President but then Pres. Benigno Aquino II did not certify it as ‘urgent’.

The Speaker said he does not foresee major obstacles in passing the Bangsamoro law.

“If there are no objectionable provisions, I think there will be no problem and the fact that the President wants this bill as a model for federal states later on when we …  change (the) form of government from unitary to a federal system… it will become a model of all states — I think that would be easier to pass”, Alvarez said as quoted by Mindanews.

Several Moro leaders, non-government organizations and civil society organizations are pushing for the passage of the Bangsamoro law first before the shift to federalism.