House joint committee approves Bangsamoro commission’s BBL version
A joint committee of the House of Representatives has approved the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which seeks to abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
In an executive session on Monday, two of the three House panels approved House Bill (HB) 6475.
The House committee on Muslim affairs, voting 5-3, and special committee on peace, unity and reconciliation, voting 6-4, have approved House Deputy Speaker Bai Sandra Sema’s motion to pass HB 6475 as the House’s BBL version and retain all of its provisions.
However, the committee on local government rejected the motion by a vote of 1-9.
The proposed measure, principally authored by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, is the same as the BBL version submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to Congress.
There are four BBL proposals filed in the lower Chamber. The other three are HBs 92, 6121, 6263, and 6475 authored by Sema, Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo, respectively.
The panels will meet again when session resumes on May 15 to approve the committee report on HB 6475.
If enacted into law, the bill would repeal Republic Act No. 9054 (An Act to Strengthen And Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) and RA No. 6734 (An Act Providing for An Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.)
The bill, among others, seeks to establish a new Bangsamoro political entity, and provide for its basic structure of government.
The Bangsamoro territory however, would remain a part of the Philippines.
Under the bill, the territory of the Bangsamoro would be composed of:
1) The present geographical area of the ARMM;
2) the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagolan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte and all other barangays in the Municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit, and Midsayap that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite;
3) the cities of Cotabatao and Isabela; and
4) all other contiguous areas where there is resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least 10 percent of the registered voters in the area asking for their inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the Basic Law and the process of delimitation of the Bangsamoro.
A popular ratification of the BBL would also be conducted among all the Bangsamoro within the areas.
While the bill provides that the defense of the Bangsamoro be the responsibility of the Central Government, it should create a Bangsamoro Military Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the Bangsamoro. This would be organized, maintained, and utilized in accordance with national laws.
The bill also calls for the creation of a Bangsamoro Police for law enforcement and maintenance of peace and order in the Bangsamoro but, it would be part of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, chair of the Senate subcommittee on BBL, said the upper Chamber’s version of the BBL is at the period of interpellations.
Zubiri said they are aiming to pass the BBL on third and final reading by May 23. /muf / Pathricia Ann V. Roxas
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.