Robredo scorns ill-timed Cha-cha push, urges gov’t to focus on pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — “Napaka-wrong timing.” (Really ill-timed.)
This was how Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday described the latest push by lawmakers for Charter change (Cha-cha).
During her weekly radio program, Robredo urged the government to focus on addressing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the economy instead of pushing for changes in the Constitution.
“Ito na iyong sinasabi natin na kahit noong nag-uumpisa pa lang iyong pandemic, ang dami nating inasikasong kung ano-ano na hindi naman related sa pandemic. Ito iyong dahilan kung bakit maraming mga Pilipino iyong naghihirap ngayon,” Robredo said.
(This is what we have been saying that even when the pandemic was just starting, we were addressing things that are not related to the pandemic. This is the reason why many Filipinos are suffering now.)
“Ito iyong dahilan kung bakit ang taas ng ating unemployment rate. Ito iyong dahilan kung bakit ang daming negosyo na nagsara,” she added.
(This is the reason why our unemployment rate is so high. This is why so many businesses have closed.)
Talks about changing the 1987 Constitution resurfaced after it was reported that Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino, known allies of the Duterte administration, asked lawmakers last Dec. 7 to convene into a Constituent Assembly.
Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., chair of the House committee on constitutional amendments, also announced that the lower chamber will resume Cha-cha debates this month focusing on “restrictive” economic provisions of the Constitution.
But the Vice President stressed there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in the country’s battle against the health crisis as the government cannot afford to again divert its attention and resources to other matters.
“During the pandemic, nakapasa tayo ng Anti-Terror Law. During the pandemic, napasara iyong ABS-CBN. Tapos ngayon na naman magcha-Charter Change tayo during the pandemic,” Robredo said.
(During the pandemic, we passed the Anti-Terror Law. During the pandemic, ABS-CBN was shut down. Now, they are pushing for Charter Change again during the pandemic.)
“Parang hindi pa ba tayo natututo? Hindi pa ba tayo natututo na iyong energies natin at atensyon natin, i-focus natin sa mga bagay na hindi magpapahirap sa ating mga kababayan? Bakit hindi natin tutukan iyong mga kailangang tutukan ngayon?.”
(Have we not yet learned that our energies and our attention should focus on things that will not bother our countrymen? Why don’t we focus on things we should be focusing on now?
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the Duterte government has the COVID-19 pandemic as its top priority, rejecting claims that administration allies are pushing for Cha-cha to extend the President’s term.
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