MANILA (Mabuhay) – Malacanang on Wednesday admitted the possibility that the passage of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law by Congress may have to wait until the next quarter of 2015 instead of December as earlier announced.
However, even with the delay, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there would still be enough time to conduct a plebiscite on the creation of the new homeland and put in place the Bangsamoro Transition Authority next year, ahead of the 2016 elections.
“We are certainly still hoping for the best … We hope we can expedite the process,” Lacierda said in a briefing aired over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.
He said the leaderships of the Senate and House of Representatives were just being “practical” in extending the target period for the passage of the draft BBL.
On Monday, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the continued delay in Malacañang’s submission of the draft BBL to Congress made it impossible to commit to the passage of the measure by year’s end.
“Time is running out. Moreover there are many congressmen from Mindanao who would be more concerned,” Belmonte said.
The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panels are currently in Davao City working to break an impasse over the draft law, which is the result of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by both parties in March to end decades of fighting in Mindanao.
Earlier, the MILF accused Malacañang of substantially diluting the draft BBL submitted for review by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which was tasked to draw up the document.
The government said it was necessary to keep the draft law within the bounds of the Constitution, but the MILF maintains that the peace pact calls for Charter change if this is necessary to create the Bangsamoro entity. (MNS)