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Bangsamoro Organic Law signed before SoNA

By Genalyn D. Kabiling

A bill creating a new Bangsamoro region will be finally be signed into law by President Duterte before his State-of-the-Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on Monday following the approval of the measure on the bicameral level, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque lauded the bicameral conference committee for approving the reconciled version of the proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law after nearly a week of deliberations.

“We thank our lawmakers and members of the Bangsamoro Transition Council because the bicameral conference on the Bangsamoro Basic Law is finished. Because they completed the bicameral conference, the President will sign the BBL before his SoNA this coming Monday,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

The bicameral conference committee approved the final version of the BBL, which has been renamed as organic law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao last Wednesday.

Roque said the Senate and the House of Representatives are expected to ratify the bicameral measure when they start the third regular session on Monday. It will then be submitted to the President for his signature before he delivers his nationwide public address that same day.

“Anytime now we can sign it. As soon as we receive the consolidated version of the proposed Republic Act, the President can sign it,” Roque said. “It’s possible it will be on Monday. That’s the target anyway,” he added.

Despite the imminent approval of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, Roque still pushed for proposed amendments to the Constitution, particularly the shift to a federal form of government. He said federalism would empower local government units to enhance development in their regions.

“There is a need to change the Constitution, to make this an institutional change,” he said.

Meanwhile, senators are confident that the version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law approved by the bicameral conference committee would be able to stand the Supreme Court’s scrutiny and eventually be implemented smoothly to resolve the long-standing conflict in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“Naniniwala po tayo na ang nilalaman ng BBL ay naaayon sa Saligang Batas,” said Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, who is part of the Senate contingent in the bicam.

“Ito ang natatanging hakbang para sa wakas ay magkaroon na ng katuparan ang layunin nating maresolba ang mga ‘di pagkakaunawaan nang sa gayon ay umusad ang kapayapaan at kaunlaran sa Bangsamoro region,” Angara said.