House to file BBL next week – Fariñas

By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab – Report

September 21, 2017

House Majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas disclosed on Thursday that they will soon file the Palace’s version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress.

This developed as Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte is likely to certify as urgent the proposed BBL, following the third Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting held on Wednesday.

In a text message to reporters, Fariñas said the House leadership would file the version of the BBL drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

“We will file next week the bill for the BBL submitted by the BTC. The President informed us that he will leave to the wisdom of the Congress the final version of the BBL,” Fariñas said.

During the 16th Congress, the passage of the BBL was derailed due to lack of quorum, in an apparent loss of confidence on the main beneficiary of the measure – the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, whose fighters were tagged in the botched Mamasapano operation that killed 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force.

Fariñas also said that the Ledac likewise tackled the proposed postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections this year, which has been certified as urgent by the President.

According to Fariñas, the President expressed no interest in appointing barangay officials, and would allow village executives to retain their positions in a hold-over capacity.

Congress has prioritized postponing the barangay polls in support of the President’s plan to weed out the influence of drugs in the most basic local government unit.

Fariñas said the House of Representatives (HOR), which approved the postponement of this year’s barangay and SK elections to May 2018, will decide next week if it would adopt the Senate version of the bill, which was passed on final reading on Wednesday.

“In regard to the postponement of the barangay and SK elections, the President informed us that he agrees with our position that the incumbent barangay officials will hold over as such because he is not really keen in appointing people into elective positions,” Fariñas said.

“The HOR will decide by Monday if it will adopt the Senate version of the postponement of the elections, since the latter has substantially adopted the version of the HOR except for some minor changes,” he added.

Should both chambers agree on the same version of the measure that would suspend barangay and SK elections this year, a bicameral conference would no longer be necessary.

The bill may then be submitted to President Duterte on Tuesday for his approval, Fariñas said.

Lawmakers from the Senate and HOR hold the bicameral conference to consolidate their respective versions of a measure.

Fariñas said the Ledac meeting also tackled the proposed amendment to the Government Procurement Reform Act or Republic Act 9184, in a bid to tighten its provisions against corruption.

Fariñas said the Ledac agreed to just amend the procurement law’s implementing rules and regulations.

“The President reiterated his fight against corruption and we discussed the need to amend the Government Procurement Reform Act. We agreed that the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) created under RA 9184 will first determine if the amendments sought may be carried out by the GPPB through its Implementing Rules and Regulations,” Fariñas said.

“If not, it will inform the Congress of the amendments that need to be legislated upon,” Fariñas added.

Ledac is the highest consultative and advisory body to the President on economic and development matters to integrate the legislative agenda with the national development plan, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda). The President chairs the council, while Neda acts as the secretariat.


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