DILG panel finds Congress’ version of Cha-cha ‘wanting’
MANILA, Philippines – A Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) panel tasked to handle constitutional reform affairs has sought more amendments in charter change (cha-cha) proposal that a House of Representatives committee recently approved.
According to the Inter-Agency Task Force Constitutional Reform (Task Force CORE), while they welcome the approval from the Committee on constitutional amendments, they are also looking for other political and electoral reforms along with provisions favoring federalism.
DILG Undersecretary and Task Force CORE executive director Jonathan Malaya in a statement on Friday said the reforms in the proposed charter lacks provisions about anti-turncoatism rules, the strength of anti-political dynasty provisions, and transparency in the way politicians finance their campaign.
“We congratulate the House panel led by Chairman Rufus Rodriguez for taking this bold step and for responding to the President’s call for Constitutional reform,” Malaya said.
“While we fully support the proposal to increase the terms of our politicians to five years with one reelection, this must come with political reforms otherwise we continue to perpetuate our weak political party system that is prone to abuse and elite capture,” he added.
On Thursday, reports came out that the said panel has “discreetly” approved a resolution extending the terms of local officials and lawmakers from both the Senate and the House.
Aside from that, the House panel also sought to relax the economic restrictions in the 1987 Constitution — a charter-change although one that is not geared towards federalism.
Federalism has been a major advocacy of President Rodrigo Duterte, in an attempt to decentralize government and spread growth to other far-flung regions, like in Mindanao where he hails from.
Malaya urged Congress to adopt the reforms as it would supposedly have a positive and long-term effect on the country.
“We hope that Congress can adopt this difficult but necessary political reforms that we have been waiting for in a very long time. We now have this opportunity to implement long-lasting reforms that will have a profound impact on the life of our nation. We must not let this opportunity pass,” Malaya said.
“These proposals respond to the clamor of the provinces for more resources and authority to allow them to catch up with the economy of the richest regions in Luzon led by Metro Manila. These are the equality provisions for the benefit of the rural areas so that they may partake of the economic development of the country,” he added.
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