BBL plebiscite eyed in November

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Tuesday the plebiscite for the ratification of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) may be held in November.

“We’re looking at a plebiscite hopefully by November of this year for ratification,” Zubiri said in an interview on the sidelines of the bicameral conference at EDSA Shangri-La hotel in Mandaluyong City.

Zubiri said once the BBL is ratified through a plebiscite, President Rodrigo Duterte could set up the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

“If it is ratified, the president can appoint members of the BTA by December or January at the latest of 2019,” Zubiri said.

The bicameral committee earlier adopted the House of Representatives version of the BBL, which 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 in the mother territory of the areas involved.”

Zubiri said parliamentary elections may be held in 2022 along with the national elections.

He said stakeholders from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) found the bicameral panel’s version of the BBL to be 80 percent to 90 percent compliant with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

“Meaning, it’s 80 to 90 percent compliant to the peace agreement signed in 2014,” he said.

The bicameral committee is expected to approve the final version of the BBL on Tuesday. PNA