Drilon: Congress aims to pass BBL before September ends

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Thursday, September 3, that the Senate and the House of Representatives will prioritize the passing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before sessions end on October 10.

Sisikapin po namin na [maipasa] bago matapos ang Setyembre itong panukalang batas na ito. Ito po ang aming sisikaping gawin,” Drilon told reporters after a meeting with the Senate and House leadership in Marco Polo Hotel in Pasig. (We will strive to pass this proposed law before the end of September.)

The BBL is a key component of the government’s peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group.

On August 10, Senate local government committee chairman Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr submitted his own version of the BBL, wherein 80% of the provisions of the measure’s House version has been amended. (DOCUMENT: Marcos submits overhauled Bangsamoro bill)

Asked if the substitute bill would appear raw because the Senate would hasten its approval process, Drilon disagreed.

Ilang buwan na itong naisalang sa amin at ngayon nga po ay nasa period of interpellations,” he said. (This has been with us for months and it is currently in its period of interpellations.)

Ang depensa ni Senator Bongbong ay ang kanyang bersiyon ay ito po ay sang-ayon sa Saligang Batas, at sa palagay ko naman at the end of the day, tanggap ng lahat na itong BBL ay dapat sang-ayon sa Saligang Batas para sa kapakanan ng buong bansa,” Drilon added.

(Senator Bonbong’s defense is that his version of the bill is in accordance with the Constitution, and I think at the end of the day, everyone accepts that the BBL should be aligned with the Constitution for the sake of the whole nation.)

Other priority measures

Aside from the BBL, Drilon said that both houses will also be prioritizing the following measures before session adjourns in October:

According to Drilon, some of these measures have been passed in the House or the Senate, and are now in various committees of both chambers.

“What we have identified are measures that both houses have agreed to work on,” said Drilon.

“[In the] House of Representatives, for measures other than the budget, that’s barely 3 weeks, because the 2016 budget comes on the floor of the House by September 28. At the Senate, we still have 5 weeks of about 15 session days,” he added. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.