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Some contested issues already settled in Bicam – Rep. Celso

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Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) Bicameral Conference Committee member and Congressman Celso Lobregat announced yesterday that the special committee has already agreed in some of the contested provisions of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is presently being discussed by both panels from the House of Representatives and the Senate.

In an interview with RMN Zamboanga, Congressman Lobregat said that even though the Bicam has targeted at least four to five days, since Monday, to complete the consolidation of the two versions of the proposed BBL Law, they have already reached some 130 pages out of 180 pages of the two versions wherein they have carefully studes thru phrase by phase and line by line of all imortant provisions.

In areas where in there was no disagreement between the Senate and the House, the panel was able to go through it and has set aside those disagreed provisions to be discussed in the formed Bicam sub-committees as well.

“There have been issues and provisions that have been assigned to sub- committees and after discussions we will report back to the Bicam on the phase by phase provisions in order to harmonize part by part on the agreed version,” Lobregat said.

One of the major issues settled so far, according to Lobregat, is to have only one plebiscite, instead of two or more. The majority decided for one plebiscite and it was agreed upon..

Concerning on issue on barangays being able to petition or to join, the Senate and House version are different, and because of this, it was assigned to the Sub-Committee on Territory for further discussion and agreement.

On the issue of properties outside of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), that is in the last part of the section of the proposed law which was not yet discussed in the Bicam.

The solon said that the issues on reference to self -determination issue has been removed as well as the proposal that the territory is integral and inseparable part was also removed make certain that there are provisions that purely states that the Bangsamoro is part of the country.

The sub-committees will also be taking up the issue on contiguity of territory and the controversial Cabatangan properties in the last provision of the said proposed Bangsamoro Law.

“I have helped the committee in many of the amendments in yesterday’s meeting which started 9 a.m. untill 11pm, I helped the committee to revolve those conflicting provisions to fast track everything,” Lobregat said.

Congressman Lobregat said that all of the members of the Bicam wanted this BBL Law to be passed but to they also want to make sure that all provisions should be constitutional – “the primary consideration should be the constitution,” he said.

“There are still issues which have to be settled, we will sit down in the sub-committee and report back to main committee in the Bicam what both panels from the House and Senate have agreed upon, as much as possible, we would like to make it as constitutionally-compliant,” Lobregat said. – Bhong Simbajon/RMN News




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