Visayan Bloc backs BBL approval

Published April 6, 2018, 4:03 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Ben Rosario 

The Visayan Bloc, an organization of 42 congressmen representing congressional districts and party-list groups in the Visayas, on Friday declared its support for the swift passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) “that is consistent with the provisions of the Constitution.”

Headed by lead convenor and Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, the Visayan Bloc issued its manifesto of support a day after President Duterte met with congressional leaders and officials of various Muslim organizations to discuss the legislative proposal that is widely seen as the formula that will put an end to the secessionist war in the south.

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez (  / MANILA BULLETIN) 
Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez

“We, the members of the Visayan Bloc of the House of Representatives, express our support for the immediate passage of a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that is consistent with the provisions of the Constitution,” the Visayan solon said.

“We firmly believe that the BBL will pave the way for long-lasting peace and socio-economic development in the proposed Bangsamoro region by allowing the establishment of a regional government that is anchored on the Bangsamoro identity,” read the manifesto.

The lawmakers added: “It is high time that we give our fellow Filipinos in the said region an opportunity for self-governance and to fully recognize their needs and aspirations.”

Benitez said the multi-party Visayan Bloc also appealed to their Lower House colleagues to “expedite and support the immediate passage” of the measure.

“We also acknowledge that ensuring peace and order in the region is a concrete step towards sustainable development in the Philippines,” the group said.

Duterte has called at least three meetings with congressional leaders on the measure, appealing to them to pass the bill by May 30.

Congress is currently on break and will resume session on May 14. Sine die adjournment is set June 2.