LEADERS of the House of Representatives are planning to remove the controversial opt-in provision in the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II said that he and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. have jointly agreed to remove the contentious provision in the draft BBL to address the concerns of some lawmakers on its possible negative effects.

"With the deletion of opt-in and if we are going to settle the language on the energy provision involving Lake Lanao, there will be substantial number of members who will support the draft Bangsamoro Law," said Gonzales.

The opt-in provision under Article III Section 3 of the BBL approved by the House ad hoc committee will allow 10 percent of registered voters in the barangay units of contiguous municipalities or cities outside the original Bangsamoro area to demand a plebiscite to propose joining the future autonomous region.

Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez, panel chair, said that he will discuss the Gonzales and Belmonte's proposal with his eight vice chair before deciding on the matter since some Muslim members of the panel may oppose the removal of the opt-in provision.

Gonzales had said the BBL will get the needed numbers during the voting in the plenary if the opt-in provision of the measure will be removed.

Meanwhile, Gonzales admitted that the House will not be able to approve the measure before Congress adjourns on Thursday.

He said that lawmakers will just conclude the period of interpellation on Wednesday and the period of individual amendments will proceed after the State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III in July.

"I find nothing wrong in the event that we approve this by October and the conduct of plebiscite three months after that because you don't need to conduct the election right away," said Gonzales.

While acknowledging the proposed compromise could be met with opposition from Muslim lawmakers, Gonzales said he is hoping they would understand the situation as it would be better than not having the proposed measure or any part thereof approved at all. (Sunnex)