PRRD to sign BBL before SONA

MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte will sign into law the landmark Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this announcement after Duterte convinced leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives to adopt the House version of the bill during his meeting with the bicameral conference committee at Malacañang Palace.

“Pleased to announce that the President facilitated the passage of the BBL by convincing the two Houses of Congress to adopt the House version of the BBL,” Roque said in a statement.

“With the President’s intervention, citing constitutional provisions and the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Umali, the passage of the BBL has been assured. PRRD will sign the BBL law before the SONA,” he added.

According to Roque, the House version of the BBL provides that “the six municipalities of Lanao del Norte and the 39 barangays of North Cotabato could vote to join the BBL territory in a referendum to be conducted on the mother territory of the areas involved.”

Duterte certified the BBL as urgent on May 29 and the following day, both houses of Congress approved the proposed bill seeking to end decades-old conflict in Mindanao.

According to media reports, the bicameral conference committee report on the BBL will be submitted for ratification by the two chambers of Congress in their respective morning sessions on July 23.

Duterte is expected to sign it into law in time for the joint session at 4 p.m., where the President will deliver his third SONA at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

The BBL seeks to abolish the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and is envisioned to grant wider self-rule to predominantly Muslim provinces and cities in Mindanao.