BICAMERAL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ADOPTS BBL. Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Farinas Sr. (left) hands over to Bangsamoro Transition Committee Chairman and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar (2nd left) the Conference Committee Report after the marathon hearing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at the Senate in Pasay City on Wednesday evening (July 18, 2018). Also present in the ceremony are Senators Juan Edgardo Angara; Franklin Drilon; Joel Villanueva and the rest of the bicameral conference committee from the House. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

After Six Days of Sleepless Nights, Grueling Debates, Bicam Finally Approves Bangsamoro Law

It’s all over. After six days of sleepless nights, and grueling debates, the bicameral conference committee approved on Wednesday night the reconciled version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The law was renamed the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, said a report by Inquirer.Net.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas thanked those who have helped the panel reach the “historic occasion,” including the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), the representatives from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Moro National Liberation Front, and the Bangsamoro people, the Inquirer.Net also said.

“I am just overwhelmed and emotional and I just want to thank everyone for their time and efforts,” Zubiri said moments before the approval of the final version of the bill.

For his part, Fariñas said, “We are here in recognition of the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people and the other inhabitants of the Muslim Mindanao,” Fariñas said. “We have done a very important legacy.”

Zubiri told reporters they would forward the proposed measure to President Rodrigo Duterte for review.

If the President approves it, both chambers of Congress would have it ratified in plenary when they convene for their third regular session at 10 a.m. on July 23, so President Duterte can sign it into law before his State of the Nation Address (Sona) at 4:00 p.m.

Zubiri hopes the law would then be ratified through a plebiscite in November 2018, which will be followed by the President’s appointment of the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority by December 2018 or January 2019, Inquirer.Net quoted the senator saying.

 “This is the day the God has made for all of us, especially for Mindanao. Although it is a rainy day, it is sunny in Mindanao, and we look at it as a sign that finally, we will be able to end this long-drawn problem of conflict in the island of Mindanao,” Zubiri told reporters at the sidelines of Tuesday’s bicameral panel debates at the Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong City.

“Hopefully with this law, peace will reign for a long, long period of time, for our children and our children’s children,” he added. 

The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) drafted by a 21-Member Bangsamoro Transition Commission is the legal translation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the GPH-MILF Peace Panels on August 2014 at Malacañang Ground.