Speaker cites bills up for passage before break

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HOUSE SPEAKER Pantaleon D. Alvarez said the House of Representatives aims to pass the bills on Dissolution of Marriage and on Civil Partnership, as well as the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before it goes on its seven-week congressional break in March.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Feb. 14, Mr. Alvarez cited social media messages supporting the passage of the Dissolution of Marriage bill.

“Kaya dito sa akin, tapusin ko na iyan (Dissolution of Marriage), tapusin ko na ’yung Civil Union, tapusin ko na rin ’yung BBL para bago naman kami mag-break, may ma-i-report tayo sa taong bayan na iyan ha, ang dami naming ginawa,” Mr. Alvarez said. (For me, I’ll finish that Dissolution of Marriage, the Civil Union, the BBL, so that before we go on a break, it can be reported to the people that we have accomplished much.)

The Dissolution of Marriage bill seeks easier access to legal processes to terminate marriages based on irreconcilable differences or severe unhappiness of the couple.

The bill is currently being deliberated by the House committee on population and family relations chaired by Laguna Representative Sol Aragones. The committee recently organized a technical working group (TWG), headed by Albay Representative Edcel C. Lagman, to consolidate House Bills (HBs) 116, 1062, 2380, and 6027.

“Huwag po kayong mag-alala at ’yun pong committee na may hawak niyan ay sabi ko, bilis-bilisan niyo na iyan, ang haba na rin ng mga committee hearings na ginawa ninyo hindi lang dito sa Pilipinas kundi pati na sa ibang bansa,” Mr. Alvarez said. (Do not worry because I told the committee that handles the bills to expedite this as the committee hearings here and abroad are already taking so long.)

Mr. Alvarez also said HB 6595 or the Civil Partnership bill will be considered for second reading in the plenary soon.

This measure aims to allow the union of two consenting adults of the same or opposite sex and grant the couple the same civil rights and benefits granted to married couples.

“Magte-terminate na sila (deliberation of the committee on women and gender equality) and then…final committee report, dadalhin na sa floor for second reading, ’yun… medyo advanced na ’yun, advanced,” the Speaker said. (They are terminating the deliberations and then the final committee report will be taken to the floor for second reading. So it is already in advanced status.)

The House leader said public hearings on the BBL ongoing alongside the drafting of the proposal for Charter change.

“We just have to see to it na ‘yung structure ng BBL ay (that the structure of the BBL is) adaptable later sa (to the) federal setup….” Mr. Alvarez said.

BBL intends to create the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region that will replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The Speaker also said constitutional amendments should be completed before 2019. — Minde Nyl R. dela Cruz