Con-Com eyes ‘Rights of the Poor’ in federal constitution

admin   •   April 5, 2018   •   3417

FILE IMAGE: A common sight on a poverty-stricken area

MANILA, Philippines — The Consultative Committee (Con-Com) is proposing to include “Rights of the Poor” in the federal constitution.

Retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who chairs the committee, said they want to expand the present bill of rights to include the right to education, health, and decent housing.

The aim is to help alleviate poverty in the country.

Government data shows more than 26 million Filipinos are living in extreme poverty.

“We find these three socio-economic rights the most urgent rights on the part of the poorer sectors of our society,” said Puno.

Under the proposed provision, the government will be obliged to ensure these rights are realized and protected.

For instance, a family unjustly evicted from their home can now seek refuge from the court for the protection and enforcement of their right to decent housing.

“At the very least, that will help the poor people in their fight for better life,” said the chairman.

The retired chief magistrate said that enforcement of these rights will depend on the resources of the government.

But its inclusion in the new constitution will encourage Congress to allocate funds to satisfy the grant of these most basic socio-economic rights.

“We have to put in some standards, some conditionalities before these rights can be demanded,” said the chairman.

Under the 1987 Constitution, these rights of the poor will remain unrealized.

In fact, in 2013, then President Benigno Aquino III had refused to sign and rejected the proposed law on magna carta of the poor.

And one of the reasons he cited was that these are not demandable from the state under the present Constitution. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

Senators think charter change still has a long way to go in 18th Congress

Maris Federez   •   July 10, 2019

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

Some senators are still not sold on the idea of instilling changes in the 1987 Constitution in the 18th Congress.

This, despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s manifestations of pursuing the charter change.

Senator Franklin Drilon said it is still uncertain as to how senators will vote on the proposed constitutional amendment.

Drilon said, “(It is) difficult to predict at this time how the senators will vote. Senate prides itself as independent of Malacañang.”

“Plus, I sense that a number of my colleagues have a “moist eye” on the Presidency in 2022, and may not support an amendment which may lead to a shift to federalism,” he added.

Liberal Party president, Senator Francis Pangilinan, who held the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, meanwhile, said the fate of the charter change will depend on composition of the Senate.

“That all depends on the majority. We will see how it goes given the new composition of the Senate,” Pangilinan said.

Senator Ralph Recto, on the other hand, said he still wants to have the cha-cha proposal scrutinized.

“We’ll have to take a look at details of the cha-cha proposal,” he said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, believes that majority of the senators have not wavered in their stance regarding the charter change.

 “It’s a little more complicated than what the President and the House want. Why? We are simply back to the same question, which is to clarify the ambiguity of the provision in the Constitution that deals with the manner of voting by Congress constituting itself into a constituent assembly,” Lacson said.

He further said, “Again, in doing so, we are faced with a chicken and egg situation. If it’s via ConCom, do we have enough time to accomplish it before the end of his term?”

Neophyte senator Francis Tolentino, however, believes that the passage of the proposed change in the form of government can still happen during President Duterte’s term.

“Tapos na yung preparatory work ng ConCom. Yung ginawa ni former Justice Puno [The preparatory work in ConCom is finished. What former Justice Puno did], it was commissioned by the executive branch. May napadala na silang report at nasa infancy stage na yung kauna unahang version nito yung sa Bangsamoro. Hindi pa siguro huli ang lahat [They were able to send their report and the very first version of it – the Bangsamor- is already at the infancy stage. Maybe it’s not yet too late,” Tolentino said.

The proposed charter change was able to slightly move in the Lower House during the 17th Congress.

It was, however, stalled in the Senate until the Congress adjourned. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Pulse Asia Survey: 2 in 3 Filipinos oppose Cha-Cha

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2018

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The latest Pulse Asia survey revealed that two in three Filipinos or 67% were not in favor of the proposed change in the 1987 Constitution.

The survey, which was released on Monday (July 16), showed 37% totally opposed the changing of the Constitution while 30% disapproved it at present but may be open for a charter change in the future.

In the same survey, conducted from June 15 to 21, showed that 62 percent were not in favor of federalism while 28 percent were in favor.

The survey was done among 1,800 respondents nationwide two weeks before the Consultative Committee submitted its final draft proposal for a federal constitution to President Rodrigo Duterte.

In reaction to the survey, Malacañang said it expects less support from the people because they know only a little about Charter Change or Federalism.

“There is clearly much work to be done in terms of spreading awareness and knowledge on the aforementioned issue. We will therefore exert even more effort to inform and educate our citizens about federalism since the approval of the proposed changes in our current Charter ultimately lies in the hands of Filipino people,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

For House Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia, having less support from the public does not mean the government to back out of its plan towards federal shift.

But according to the pollster, the public may want the government to focus more on pertinent matters other than changing the Constitution and shifting to a new form of government.

“Hindi nangangahulugan na por que at nag-information campaign, automatically magiging aprubado na ng nakakarami sa tao, dahil maaaring tingin nila, “Hindi ba kayang i-address ang aming concerns using the present system or present provisions?” said Pulse Asia research Director Ana Maria Tabunda. – Rosalie Coz / Marje Pelayo

ConCom proposes creation of Federal Competition Authority

Marje Pelayo   •   May 8, 2018

Consultative Committee economic reforms subcommittee chair Arthur Aguilar


QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Consultative Committee (ConCom) is proposing the creation of a federal competition body that would police against those who would take advantage of the situation should the Philippines ease the foreign ownership provision of the 1987 Constitution.

“If we liberalize our economy, we have to make sure that there will be a fair, healthy competition and no players will be allowed to dominate any industry or market,” said ConCom’s Sub Committee on Economic Reforms chair Arthur Aguilar.

The proposed federal competition body will be a stronger version of the Philippine Competition Commission and will be directly under the Federal Government.

Aguilar explained, “The federated regions who will have some exclusive and shared powers would not be able to enact any law that would impede the competition.”

The ConCom is still studying several economic provisions in the current Constitution that needs revision including the controversial 60-40 percent foreign ownership provision. – Nel Maribojoc


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