PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III asked Thursday the public to help his administration in convincing the lawmakers to immediately pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

This was after both the Senate and the House of Representative failed to come up yet with the approved bill as session adjourned Wednesday.

"So 'yung more or less, I think, we're slightly behind schedule but sa dulo po nito, lahat naman ng poder nanggagaling sa taumbayan. Kapag ‘yung taumbayan na ang nagsabi na mismo, 'Puwede ba madaliin niyo ang pagpapasa ng batas na 'yan.' Iyon siguro ang pinakagarantiya, lalo na napipinto ang eleksyon na lahat makikinig sa mga boss," he said in an interview in Iloilo.

"So sana 'yung mga boss natin ay lalong magpadinig ng kanilang boses na gusto nilang magkaroon nitong BBL sa lalong madaling panahon."

With the decision in the House to remove the opt-in provision in the proposed BBL, Aquino said that there could be other ways to expand the covered area of the envisioned Bangsamoro territory.

"Yung opt-in in particular, meron tayong mga mechanisms in place, that—at some point in time may probinsiya na gustong sumama to a particular region. Currently, all it takes is an executive order, as what we did with One Negros, and what was done before my time in several other instances. For instance, 'yung creation 'nung Region IV-B (Mimaropa)," he said.

"So that then itself is not a difficult process. If the people will be able to demonstrate that they want to join in, that having it in the law at this point in time doesn't say that it's an impossibility."

The opt-in provision wherein 10 percent of the population of an area contiguous to Bangsamoro territory can petition for its inclusion is one of the most controversial provisions of the bill being questioned by some lawmakers.

While the draft BBL is still pending in Congress, Aquino said that he will be attending the ceremonial turnover of weapons by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) on June 16 in Maguindanao.

The MILF will turnover initial 55 high-powered and 20 crew-serve weapons to IDB and 145 MILF combatants will be decommissioned, said government peace panel head Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.

"Ngayon may magandang pangayayari...June 16 ‘yung unang parte ‘nung normalization ay magaganap at hindi biro ‘yung papa-decommission ng mga sandata, e may mga cruiser pa at hindi limang piraso, dalawang piraso, medyo substantial number. Tayo ay dadalo doon, June 16," Aquino said.

Both the passage of the draft BBL and the decommissioning of the MILF forces are part of the peace agreement between the government and the Muslim rebels. (SDR/Sunnex)