GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 Oct) – The House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee studying the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will hold four major public consultations this week in various parts of Region 12.
South Cotabato (1st District) Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr., one of the four committee vice chairs, said the consultations are scheduled on Thursday and Friday in four key cities in the region.
He said the committee, which will be led by its chair Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, will initially meet with various sectors in Cotabato City on Thursday, October 23.
Simultaneous consultations will be conducted on Friday, October 24, in Tacurong City for Sultan Kudarat residents; Koronadal City for those coming from South Cotabato province; and in this city for local residents and those from Sarangani Province.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Cotabato.
Acharon, who will lead the activities in this city, said the move is part of the committee’s efforts to fast track the passage of the BBL.
After this week’s schedule in Region 12, he said they will proceed to other key areas in Mindanao.
“There will be public consultations in all major urban centers in Mindanao,” Acharon told reporters.
The official said they are targeting to complete the public consultations by the end of November.
“We want it all done within November so we can proceed with the plenary deliberations and hopefully, its passage on third and final reading by mid-December,” he said.
Acharon, who chairs the House committee on local government, said they remain on track towards their targets in terms of the passage and signing into law before the end of the year of the BBL, which was earlier certified as urgent by Malacañang.
In preparation for the scheduled public consultations, Acharon met with local government officials and other sectoral leaders here over the weekend to get their initial sentiments about the BBL.
He gathered from participants various questions that could be tackled during the formal consultation, which will be held at the Mindanao State University gymnasium.
Acharon urged all concerned residents to attend the public consultations so their sentiments and questions would be addressed properly.
“Whether we like it or not, everyone will eventually be affected one way or another by this proposed law. So it’s important that we properly consult all sectors and address all questions about it,” he added.