Amendment proposals delay House panel vote on BBL

Angela Casauay
Amendment proposals delay House panel vote on BBL
The House ad hoc committee on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law moves the scheduled vote to Tuesday morning, May 11

MANILA, Philippines – The expected voting on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at committee level on Monday, May 11, was moved to Tuesday, May 12, after lawmakers registered last-minute proposals for amendments. 

Instead of putting the bill to a vote on Monday afternoon, the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the BBL discussed proposed amendments to the measure. A total of 12 committee members signed up to file their suggestions. (READ: How different is ARMM from the Bangsamoro?)

The new schedule for the committee vote is Tuesday morning, according to the chair of the committee, Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez.

Committee members will vote on the BBBL section-by-sectionfrom 9:30 am to 7 pm from Tuesday to Wednesday. Roll-call voting will be implemented and no explanations will be entertained, Rodriguez said. Lawmakers can get their chance to explain their votes at the plenary, he added. 

Monday’s session was supposed to be held behind closed-doors in an executive session but the committee decided to open it to the public following a motion from Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares. The motion was approved in a unanimous vote, Rodriguez said. 

All succeeding hearings of the committee will be open to the public. 

Asked what led to the change, Rodriguez said it was because the media came out to say “that the concerns of transparency will prevail over concerns of grandstanding.”

The House ad hoc committee has conducted at least 35 public hearings and weeks-long executive sessions to discuss the proposed law. 

FINAL STRETCH. House ad hoc committee members deliberate on proposed amendments to the Bangsamoro Basic Law before putting the measure to a vote.

A product of the peace deal between the government and rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the BBL seeks to create a new autonomous region in Musndanao with greater powers and resources than the current one in place. 

The proposed Bangsamoro automous government will be parliamentary in form, the only one of its kind in a country with a unitary presidential system. 

It is also designed to get automatic appropriations similar to the internal revenue allotment of local government units. 

On Monday, thousands marched to Congress to urge lawmakers not to pass a law that would be weaker than the one that created the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 

Rodriguez earlier said 8 provisions are set to be deleted from the BBL, including those creating autonomous branches of constitutional bodies. 

Also set to be deleted are provisions giving operational control and supervision of the police to the Bangsamoro chief minister, and those establishing coordination mechanisms between the president and the chief minister. 

Once the bill hurdles the committee level, it will be sent to the plenary for deliberations. 

House and Senate leaders earlier agreed to pass the BBL before Congress adjourns session in June. 

The Senate, however, has yet to wrap up its committee hearings. –

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