Lawmakers target passage of Bangsamoro law by end of May

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Muslim students arrive for a rally in support of the peace agreement with the government in Cotabato City, on the southern island of Mindanao on March 27, 2014. The Philippine government and Muslim rebels will sign a pact March 27, to end one of Asia's longest and deadliest insurgencies, but both sides caution much work needs to be done to secure a lasting peace. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE

By Arjay L. Balinbin

Lawmakers on Tuesday, March 13, told President Rodrigo R. Duterte that they target to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by the end of May this year, Presidential Spokesperson Herminio Harry L. Roque, Jr. said.

During the command conference of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) at Malacañang on Tuesday night, the President, according to Mr. Roque, “discussed the urgency of the BBL with Congressional leaders.”

“We cannot fail on this (BBL). The next generation is counting on us,” Mr. Duterte said.

The President likewise said the Constitutional Commission (ConCom) tasked to review the 1987 Constitution “can provide (a) template for the BBL.”

The Congressional leaders, for their part, told the President that “the target date for BBL is May 30, 2018.”

Among those who attended Tuesday’s conference were Senate President Aquilino L. Pimentel III, Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III, Senators Gregorio B. Honasan II and Panfilo M. Lacson, House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, House Majority Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas, and House Representatives Bai Sandra Sema, Mauyag B. Papandayan, Jr., Romeo M. Acop, Ruby M. Sahali, and Amado T. Espino, Jr.