BTC urges senate to file its proposed BBL

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission is urging the Senate to file the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which was drafted by the former since June 2017.

During its 6th plenary session held on January 8 and 9, the Commission passed a resolution asking the Senate leadership to have someone file and sponsor the BTC-drafted BBL and to use the latter as its working document in its deliberation.

At present, there are two separate bills (Senate Bill No. 1608 and Senate Bill No. 1635) filed by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, respectively. The Committees on Local Government and Constitutional Amendments & Revision of Codes are handling the bills.

A Sub-committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law was created which is being chaired by Sen. Zubiri. It has already conducted its first public hearing last December 20 and another one is scheduled this coming January 17.

The BTC, however, would not attend the 2nd public hearing since, as Chairman Jaafar said in his letter to Sen. Zubiri, “they are not the bills crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission pursuant to E.O. No. 08 series of 2016 signed by the President on November 7, 2016.”

Chairman Jaafar said that the commissioners could become resource persons to future public hearings once the said resolution is acted upon.

In its resolution, the BTC noted that the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office formally endorsed the BTC-drafted BBL to the Senate and House of Representatives last August 14. The resolution also cited the inclusion of the BTC-drafted BBL as priority administration bill during the September 20, 2017 LEDAC (Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council) meeting.

On September 26, the BTC-drafted BBL was filed as House Bill 6475 with Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as principal sponsor.

Congress will resume its session on January 15.

Other resolutions

In cognizance of prevailing social problems involving indigenous peoples in Maguindanao, the BTC created a Task Force on Reconciliation and Unification. It would study issues and concerns on security and land conflict involving indigenous peoples, Maguindanaons and Christian settlers in the Province of Maguindanao.

The Task Force shall make recommendations to the Commission in addressing the problems.

Similarly, a Task Force Ranaw was also created to “conduct dialogue and coordinate with relevant government agencies and NGOs in support of the Bangsamoro peace process.”

The composition of both Task Forces would be determined by the BTC Chairman.

The Commission also passed a resolution expressing its appreciation and gratitude to all the individuals and groups who contributed to the success of the November 27, 2017 Bangsamoro Assembly. ##AMC