BBL approval challenges the Congress

By , on October 23, 2015

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The approval of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) remains a challenge for the House of Representatives.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte admitted that BBL is bit challenging for him and other leaders of chamber. They would also try to finish floor debates on the measure and put it to a vote on Dec. 19, before the Christmas recess of the Congress.

Belmonte wants the four or five remaining members of the House, who have questions with the proposed law, “to elicit new facts and not repeat what the others have been asking for the last half-year.”

The plenary debates would be shortened if new facts were presented, after the House goes to amending the BBL draft, and the chamber will put the measure to a vote.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the ad hoc committee of BBL and principal sponsor of the measure, said there is still time for the House to approve the proposed law.

“We will reconvene on Nov. 3. We have six weeks up to Dec. 16 or 19 to do it. We have to pass the draft BBL for the sake of peace,” he said in  a report by Jess Diaz of The Philippine Star.

Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat expressed his doubts for the House in meeting the deadline of voting on the draft of BBL before the Christmas recess. He’s also one of the representatives who still have questions for Rodriguez and his co-sponsors of the measures.

Lobregat also said that a lot of debates can happen before or during the amendments. Lack of quorum could be the possible reason of delaying the approval of the proposed BBL before the Christmas recess.

House leaders, according to him, should expect fewer members will attend the sessions because those members who filed their certificates of candidacy, would be on “campaign mode.”

He also pointed out that Congress would not be able to concentrate and tackle the measure due to the approaching campaign period which will start in February. The session of the Congress will resume on mid-January next year.