The fourteenth session of the Parliamentary, presided by Deputy Speaker Hatimil Hassan, started with an executive session. It was then opened to the public as chaired by Member of Parliament (MP) Musa Diamla of Lanao del Sur.
Presented for deliberation were a bill and a total of nine resolutions filed before the plenary. Issues concerning the Bangsamoro region were brought to the floor one after another as the members go along learning more clearly their parliamentary rules, practices and procedures. As has been a rather frequent practice, the Majority Floor Leader MP Atty. Lanang Ali, Jr. moved to dispense with the reading of the journal of the previous conduct of session and have the same approved subject to style. The Presiding Officer ruled on the motions as approved after being duly seconded and no objection raised.
The first resolution presented was Proposed Resolution No. 22 for BTA to include the creation of Lake Lanao Development Authority among the priority legislation in the Transition Plan and to enact a legislation creating the said agency for the protection, development and promotion of Lake Lanao and its watersheds.
Five other resolutions were also referred to the Committee on Rules:
- Proposed Resolution No. 60, Resolution Requesting All Interim Ministries of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to Provide Data, Budget Allocation, Status of Children in their Service Constituency as well as Current, Proposed and Potential Policies and Programs to Preserve, Protect and Promote the Rights of Children in the BARMM in aid of Legislation;
- Proposed Resoluton No. 61, A Resolution Creating an Inter-Agency Committee which shall be called the BARMM Inter-Agency Audit Committee Headed by the Office of the President, and Composed of the Department of Budget and Management, Commission on Audit, and Civil Service Commission, and Appropriating Funds Therefore;
- Proposed Resolution No. 64, A Resolution Addressed to Hon. Ahod B. Ebrahim, Chief Minister, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cotabato City Respectfully Requesting in His Good Office to Provide Financial Assistance as Subsidy Just Enough for the Maintenance and Operation of Barangay Kinukutan, Municipality of Al-Barka, Province of Basilan;
- Proposed Resolution No. 65, A Resolution Addressed to the Department of Budget and Management Respectfully Requesting it for the Inclusion of Barangay Kinukutan, Municipality of Al-Barka, Province of Basilan, in the Allocation of Internal Revenue Allotment for Barangays Effective January 1, 2020, just in Time Together with the Allocation of IRA for its Mother Municipality of Al-Barka; and
- Proposed Resolution No. 74, A Resolution Requesting the Chief Minister to Establish and Constitute the Interim Bangsamoro Pilgrimage Authority in Order to Prepare for the Forthcoming 2020 Pilgrimage (HAJJ).
The Plenary referring proposed resolutions to the Committee on Rules and the latter to refer the same to the appropriate statutory committees is a matter of procedure. Parliamentary practice and procedures are structured so that time is appropriately reserved for when the plenary may open the floor itself for debates. As explained by the Majority Leader, simple resolutions expressing mere or general sentiments may be approved even without further deliberations while those referred to appropriate committees are made in consideration of future legislation.
However, even simple resolutions expressing sentiments may still be debated upon when parliamentary courtesies and protocols so demand. Such is the case of Resolution No. 70, “A Resolution Commending the Filing of House Bill No. 3542 Seeking to Compensate Marawi Siege Victims, Proposing Enhancements Thereto And Earnestly Encouraging Members of the House of Representatives to Support its Passage”. The term enhancementappears to be an imposition of one body over another in a way that questions the superiority, or lack of it, of that body over the other. While the subject matter of said proposal was approved by the plenary, there is a need to revisit its language before approving it altogether. Thus, it was moved to be made part of the business for the day, prompting further discussion prior its approval. Another proposed resolution that was included is No. 84 “Resolution Realigning the Fund Allotted to the Personnel Services of the Regional Assemblymen and Their Co-Terminus Staff of the Defunct Regional Legislative Assembly”.
Finally, the proposed BTA-Parliamentary Bill No. 5 “An Act Creating the Office of the Bangsamoro Director – General for Madaris Education in the Ministry of Education and to Strengthen and Institutionalize Madaris Education and Appropriating Funds Therefor and For Other Purposes” was given its second reading. In his sponsorship speech, author MP Alzad Sattar argued that the bill was filed to help regulate, standardize, and assist the severely neglected Madaris education system, which can consequently contribute in curbing violent extremism in the region.
When a bill enters a Second Reading, it is now open to the plenary for debate but shall be confined to the general principles of the bill.
The session was suspended and is to resume the following day.