By Ben Rosario
President Rodrigo Duterte will have to put his stamp of approval on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law before the final version of the measure is sent for ratification to the Senate and the House of Representatives.
House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas said the bicameral conference committee completed the task of fine-tuning the respective versions of the two legislative bodies at 12:15 a.m. Friday.
“Yes, we finished everything in principle at 12:15 a.m.,” Fariñas said.
However, the final report will be completed by Fariñas and his Senate counterpart, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, when they meet Tuesday,” Fariñas revealed.
From there, the bicameral conference panel report that will contain the final copy of the BBL will be forwarded “to the President for his consideration”, the House leader stated.
“If he finds it to his approval, we will have it ratified in plenary by the House of Representatives and the Senate when we convene our third Regular Session on Monday, July 24, 2018 at 10 a.m.for it to be signed into law by the President on or before the SONA at 4 p.m.,” he stated.
So far, Congress leaders and the Bangsamoro stakeholders appeared to be in accord of the bicameral panel’s work on the BBL.
Bangsamoro Transition Commission chairman Ghazali Jaafar, vice chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, has agreed that the consolidated version has not watered down the original proposal presented by the BTC.
Earlier, Jaafar said a resounding rejection among Muslims should be expected if the final BBL is found to be weak and diluted with provisions that will only run counter to the ideals of a Bangsamoro entity that the BTC proposed.
“The fact is that, the BBL now as we see it, unless it is changed drastically, it is no longer ARMM minus. It is ARMM plus plus plus,” Jaafar told reporters on Thursday.
On Thursday night, the bicameral panel composed of representatives from the Lower House and the Senate approved a provision that would allow a Bangsamoro government and the Department of Energy (DOE) to jointly explore, develop, and utilize fossil fuels and uranium in the new region.
This scrapped another idea to give the national government the sole access to energy resources found in the Bangsamoro area.
Also approved on Thursday was the creation of the Shari’ah High Court as part of the Bangsamoro justice system.
The Constitution allows the creation of Shari’ah courts but appeared to be silent on the setting up of a supreme court that will be the final arbiter of disputes under the Islamic law.
Zubiri clarified, however, that legal disputes between Muslims and Christians will have to be resolved in ordinary courts in the Bangsamoro land.