A panel of the Philippines' House of Representatives has approved the Bangsamoro basic law (BBL) with 50 in favor and 17 votes against on Wednesday, after two days of deliberations.
The proposed law, which is a part of the peace deal between the government and the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), seeks to create a new autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao with greater powers and resources.
The new Bangsomoro government will be a parliamentary entity. The budgetary and tax issues of the new autonomous region will be discussed later this month in the same panel. The whole proposed law will be referred to the Senate after plenary approvals.
Passing the law by June is a top priority of the government of President Benigno Aquino III, as the country readies for the 2016 elections. The deadline was jeopardised after attacks on Philippines forces by breakaway rebel groups.
The Senate and House of Representatives suspended work on legislation for the autonomous region amid an outcry after fighting on the island of Mindanao on Jan. 25 in which 44 policemen and 18 rebels were killed.
The Philippines government and the country’s one-time largest Islamic group signed the peace deal on March 2014, after 17 years of negotiations to end a 45-year conflict that has killed around 120,000 people, displaced 2 million and stunted growth in the poor but resource-rich south.