Joint House panel endorses BBL measure

Published April 17, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Ben Rosario

The joint panel of three House of Representatives committees voted two to one to endorse the enactment en toto of House Bill (HB) 6475, a version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) authored by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and supported by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

The close voting among members of the House Committees on Local Government, on Peace Reconciliation and Unity, and on Muslim Affairs may have provided a preview of how intense the debates would be when HB 6475 is sent to the House plenary on May 15.

In deciding not to consolidate the four BBL bills, the joint panel also threw out months of deliberations and decision already reached on certain provisions that they believe should be included in the final version of the measure.

The Committee on Muslim Affairs and Special Committee on Peace Unity and Reconciliation voted 5-3 and 6-4, respectively, in favor of HB 6475.

On the other hand, the local governments panel chaired by South Cotabato Rep. Pedro Acharon voted 1-9 against the motion to adopt HB 6475 that was raised by Deputy Speaker and Maguindanao Rep. Bai Sandra Sema.

Reps. Khalid Dimaporo (NPC, Lanao del Norte) and Celso Lobregat (NP, Zamboanga City) accepted the verdict of the joint panel but vowed to raise serious objections to certain provisions of the measure when plenary debates start.

“We function in a democracy, those not in favor of the bill still have the plenary to propose amendments,” said Dimaporo.

Dimaporo, author of one of the four BBL bills filed, represents a province that has dodged membership to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

HB 6475 proposes to include in the Bangsamoro territory the municipalities of Baloi Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagolan and Tangkal that are located in Lanao del Norte.

Under the bill 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 will be included in the Bangsamoro area.