Tuesday, 14 February 2017 09:46

Cha-cha roars back to life

The House constitutional amendments committee has approved a measure pushing ahead with Charter change, with Congress convening as a Constituent Assembly but with members of the House and the Senate voting separately.

Rep. Roger Mercado of Southern Leyte, Chairman of the House constitutional amendments panel, made the disclosure even as the 1987 Constitution is not clear on whether the House and the Senate should vote separately in amending the Constitution through a Constituent Assembly.

“We hope that the members of the majority will accept this proposed bill amending the Constitution via ConAss. During the period of amendments, the House version will be amended to provide that we will be voting separately,” Mercado told reporters.

“Once we pass the proposed bill on ConAss, then it will be taken up by the Senate. If the Senate approves it, then we will hold a bicameral conference before submitting it to the President for approval. Once it becomes the law, the convening of both Houses [to amend Charter]will commence,” Mercado explained.

President Rodrigo Duterte prefers Cha-cha through a Constituent Assembly instead of a Constitutional Convention, which could cost taxpayers at least P6 billion.

Under the 1987 Constitution, any amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution may be proposed by Congress acting as a Constituent Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths of its members.

Joint voting will effectively drown the senators’ votes as there are only 24 senators while the House has at least 293 members. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd has insisted that in the event Congress convenes as a Constituent Assembly, voting on constitutional amendments must be done by the two houses separately.

“We will be on break on March 18, and it is our hope that Congress will give priority on this once we open session once again in May. Exporters, businessmen, are vigorously recommending for the amending of our Constitution, especially its economic provisions. This is ripe for appropriate action,” Mercado said.

He added that lawmakers will mount an intensive information drive on Charter Change in major cities such as Davao and Bacolod to discuss the benefits of a shift to the federal form of government.

The Duterte administration envisions a federal system of government wherein the Philippines will have 11 independent states (regions): the National Capital Region, Southern Tagalog Region, Northern Luzon Region, Bicol Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Easten Samar, Western Samar, Eastern Mindanao, Western Mindanao and Bangsamoro.

In December, Malacañang formed a 25-man consultative committee to review the 1987 Constitution and study the proposal to shift to a federal system of government.
Published in News
Saturday, 10 September 2016 22:38

How to decapitate ‘Imperial Manila’

Except for the so-called “oligarchs” based in the National Capital Region, I am positive that most Filipinos agree with President Duterte that it is about time we decapitated “Imperial Manila.” Too many decisions about the welfare of the regions are being made by Manila-based politicians and government officials who are often ignorant of the real circumstances of the masses outside the NCR, especially in the predominantly rural territories.

Published in Commentaries
Sunday, 04 September 2016 17:16

What is state of lawless violence?

LAW EXPERTS on Saturday said the people’s rights should not be affected by President Duterte’s declaration of a “state of lawlessness,” as it is limited to calling out the military to help the police suppress violence.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II stressed the constitutionality of the declaration, which came hours after an explosion killed 14 people and wounded 68 others at a night market in Mr. Duterte’s hometown, Davao City.

Published in News
Monday, 29 August 2016 11:37

The next revolution

Those of us who worked hard to make Rodrigo Roa Duterte the president of the Philippines never thought we would succeed. It was mission impossible. That is why he could not make up his mind for some time. To plunge or not to plunge to the unknown. He might have been a successful city mayor in one of the more neglected and troubled area of the Philippines – Mindanao – but that did not automatically mean he could win against the traditional politicians and oligarchs who would fight tooth and nail for their power and privileges in the status quo. But we kept on. We were aware that the PCOS machines were ready to be used for the Liberal Party candidates. How could we win against such odds? We did and as the more religious of us said it could be but only through a miracle.
Published in Commentaries

President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing for Charter amendments to ease the foreign ownership of companies to spur economic growth and job generation in the country.

In a press conference in Davao City Thursday night, the President announced that he was in favor of a proposed 50-50 cap on foreign ownership of land, natural resources, public utilities, among others, from the current 60-40 rule in the Constitution.

Published in News

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte can do away with the multibillion-peso cost of holding a constitutional convention (con-con) if the number of delegates is reduced to 80 or even 18, according to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.

Published in News

ILOILO CITY — An official of the Catholic Church in Iloilo is opposing a move led by President Duterte to amend the Constitution through a Constituent Assembly (Con-ass).

“A Con-ass is dangerous because this could be exploited by politicians for their personal and political agenda,” said Monsignor Meliton Oso, executive director of the Jaro Archdiocese Social Action Center.

Published in News
As the Philippines transits to a Federal State (hopefully by a Constitutional Convention) it will become important to start thinking of government assets and facilities in terms of their being Federal or Regional in character. While some government assets and facilities are clearly National like the NAIA airport or military camps, others, like the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) OR SBMA are clearly only Regional in character, meaning the impact of operations hardly goes beyond the region.
Published in Commentaries
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 17:49

A forum on pursuing federalism

Change has really come even for me. Usually, my Saturdays are sacred as it used to be my golfing day, which is considered “my day off.” Well, last Saturday, after my medical check up, instead of heading towards the golf course, I joined the forum entitled, “Pursuing Federalism: A Shift from Unitary-Presidential to Federal-Parliamentary Government held at the Elizabeth Hotel sponsored by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc. (PCCI), Centrist Democracy Political Institute, Cebu Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc. (CCCI) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.
Published in Commentaries

CANBERRA—The first thing President Duterte did after his inauguration was to fly to Davao City to start dismantling the superstructure dominance of “Imperial Manila” as the national capital of the unitary Philippine state for more than 400 years.

Published in Commentaries
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