Press Release
May 31, 2018

Landmark Bangsamoro Basic Law gets Senate nod

The Senate approved early morning Thursday on third and final reading its version of the landmark Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Senate Bill No. 1717 was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

"This is our road to a just and dignified peace not only in Mindanao, but in the whole Philippines. No one loses in this final peace agreement. We all win in the signing of this agreement," Zubiri said.

Certified as an urgent measure by President Rodrigo Duterte last May 29, the bill was approved on second reading and third and final reading at the end of the gruelling 10- hour session held by the senators on the proposed bill from the Wednesday afternoon, May 30 to the wee hours of May 31. The bill was eventually passed by the Senate with 21 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention.

Along with Zubiri, those who voted for the passage of the proposed peace measure were Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Aquilino Pimentel III, Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Gregorio Honasan II, Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, Joel Villanueva, Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Grace Poe, Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes IV.

The bill was co-authored by Senators Leila de Lima, Pimentel, Hontiveros, Aquino, Angara, Legarda, and Pangilinan, with Angara, Aquino and Hontiveros serving as the bill's co-sponsors.

According to Zubiri, the Senate version of the BBL gives great latitude to the Bangsamoro people "to assert their political and economic self-determination and pursue development programs for their people according to their peculiar historical, cultural, religious and national identities."

"With the new features in the Senate version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, we would have improved governance and accountability, increased developmental funding and strengthened fiscal autonomy, institutionalized the Bangsamoro justice system, and many others," he said.

Many amendments were introduced by the senators to the Senate version of the BBL, which was prepared by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

Zubiri said the amendments were made "to craft not just better language, but to even enhance it."

"Coming from all failed attempts of past administrations to build lasting peace in Mindanao, I am very hopeful we can have a BBL that satisfies the concerns of Muslim Mindanao and most of all our Constitution," Zubiri said.

A clean copy of the SBN 1717 inclusive of the numerous amendments introduced by senators is set to be released soon.

According to Zubiri, the bicameral conference committee, which would tackle the disagreeing provisions between the Senate and House versions of the BBL, would be likely held in July.

The Senate panel which would take part in the bicameral deliberations include Zubiri, Pimentel, Drilon, Angara, Gatchalian, Villanueva, Escudero, Hontiveros and Legarda.

Congressional leaders have earlier said that the BBL is expected to be signed into law by President Duterte in time for his 3rd State of the Nation Address in July 23, 2018.

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