By Charmaine A. Tadalan
THE HOUSE of Representatives expects President Rodrigo R. Duterte to sign the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) the same day as his third State of the National Address (SONA).
“The bill is currently under deliberations and we expect to ratify it by the 23rd of July, to be presented to the President on the same day for his signature,” Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn F. Garcia said in a press briefing, Monday.
The Committee is scheduled to resume meetings on Tuesday to finalize and approve its committee report, after discussing at length the contentious issues of the House and Senate bills since last week.
Among the issues the House and Senate panels have so far resolved are the provisions on territorial jurisdiction, wealth sharing and block grant.
The Committee, with Mr. Duterte’s help, has agreed to adopt the House version which will allow the six municipalities of Lanao del Norte and 39 barangays of North Cotabato to join the proposed Bangsamoro region in a referendum to be conducted in their mother territories.
Likewise, the House provision on wealth sharing was also adopted, which stated that 75% of the region’s income will be retained by the Bangsamoro government, while the other 25% will be given to the National government.
As for the block grant, or the annual fund which will be 5% of national revenues, the Committee has decided to remove conditions provided in the Senate version.
“The approval of BBL is an affirmation of our support to the President who believes the BBL is crucial to securing lasting peace in Mindanao which is facing threats of Islamist radicals,” Ms. Garcia said.