By Charissa M. Luci-Atienza
The four technical working groups (TWGs) of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments are eyeing the approval of the draft new Philippine Federal Constitution by November.
Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, committee chairman, said the TWG members agreed to finish their work by November this year and submit the draft new Federal Constitution to the committee for final discussion and approval.
“The committee deemed it prudent to come up with a draft Philippine Federal Constitution to guide the House members when they deliberate on proposals to shift from unitary to federal system,” he said.
Last week, the Mercado panel created four TWGs that would expedite the deliberations and drafting of the new Charter.
“Discussions on federalism should focus on providing solutions to the country’s economic problems, especially poverty, the peace and order situation, and the fight against illegal drugs,” Mercado said.
He said the TWG members agreed that the final draft of the Philippine Federal Constitution will be submitted to the House Committee on Rules chaired by Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas by December this year.
Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, who heads one of the TWGs, vowed that “they will work closely with the Constitutional Commission that President Rodrigo Duterte plans to establish in order to avoid duplication of efforts.”
TWG 1 is chaired by Negros Oriental Rep. Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon. They will handle the provisions on the Executive-Legislative (Articles VI and VII); New article on Federal and Regional Powers, Numbers of States; and Local Government and Taxation/Allocation of Resources (Article X).
Headed by Castro, TWG 2 will draft the provisions on the Judiciary (Article VIII); Amendments or Revisions (Article XVII); Suffrage (Article V), Citizenship (Article IV); and Bill of Rights (Article III).
TWG 3 is chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez and is expected to prepare the Preamble; National Territory (Article I); Declaration of Principles and State Policies (Article II); General Provisions (Article XVI); and Transitory Provisions (Article XVIII).
TWG 4, led by Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, will handle Social Justice, Labor and Others (Article XIII); Education, Science and Others (Article XIV); National Economy and Patrimony (Article XII); New article on the Bill of Duties; Accountability of Public Officials (Article XI); and Family (Article XV).
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