The Inter-Agency Task Force on Constitutional Reform (Task Force CORE) has submitted its second set of proposed constitutional amendments to the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments during a public hearing/consultation held at University of the Philippines (UP) Visayas in Iloilo on Friday.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that they submitted their second set of proposed constitutional amendments covering political and electoral reforms to the Committee chaired by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City. The Iloilo public consultation was presided by Cong. Lorenz Defensor (3rd District, Iloilo).
Task Force CORE which is chaired by DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año was created by the President under Memorandum Circular No. 52 and is composed of some 15 government agencies.
Among those submitted to the House Committee are proposals to strengthen political parties as public institutions, prohibition of turn-coatism (balimbing), making the anti-political dynasty provision of the Constitution as self-executing, campaign finance reform through the creation of a democracy fund, and extending the terms of local government officials to 5 years with one reelection.
Previously, Task Force CORE submitted its proposed ‘equality provisions’ which seeks to increase the Internal Revenue Allotment of Local Government Units by institutionalizing the Mandanas Ruling, and transforming the Regional Development Council from a purely recommendatory body into the Regional Development Authority with a regular budget and project implementation functions.
“The second set of proposed amendments cover the needed political and electoral reforms to strengthen democracy and improve governance as well the ‘equality provisions’ to ensure more funds flow to the provinces and spread the benefits of economic growth to all regions of the country,” said Malaya.
The DILG has been advocating for these proposed constitutional amendments across the country through the Balangyan provincial roadshows that started last month. “We have brought this campaign to some 40 provinces across the country so far and it has gathered significant public support from all sectors,” he said.
“As part of the provincial roadshows, we have been consulting the people about these proposals and the feedback has been very positive. We have also launched a signature campaign and we hope to submit the collected signatures to the House of Representatives and the Senate once the roadshows are completed in all provinces by next month,” said Malaya.
Task Force CORE also expressed full support to the proposals pending in Congress lifting the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution or the so-called foreign ownership equity provisions.
“The Philippines is constantly lagging behind our Asian neighbors in attracting foreign direct investment in part because of the restrictive provisions of our charter. We shoud be at the level of Thailand but we are way behind. If we want to generate enough employment for all, increasing foreign direct investment is the key,” former Secretary Gary Olivar of Task Force CORE told the members of the Committee.
“We must make the Philippines competititive and one of the ways identified by our economic managers is to lift the foreign ownership restrictions in the charter and allow Congress to pass laws to regulate them instead,” he said.
Also attending the public hearing were Cong. Ferdinand Gaite of Bayan Muna party-list, NUPL Chairman Neri Colmenares, former Iloilo governor Arthur Defensor Sr. and Iloilo City Representative Julienne Baronda, among others.