Speaker renews bid for Charter change

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HOUSE Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Sunday vowed to convene Congress into a constitutional assembly in 2018 to push for amendments to the 1987 Constitution and the shift to a federal form of government.

He said the convening would push through with or without President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of the members of the constitutional commission tasked to recommend the constitutional provisions to be amended.

He said he welcome it if the Senate and the House of Representatives would vote separately to amend the Constitution.

Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, a deputy speaker, maintained his support for Charter change to address the country’s various problems.

“The problems plaguing the country, such as graft and corruption, poverty, insurgency and weak judiciary are due to our failure to restudy and revisit the Constitution,” he said.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

Abu was the author of Cha-Cha bill. 

“The proposed federalism will give us the chance to reexamine the provisions of our Constitution for fair distribution of the benefits of economic growth,” he said.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Ray Villafuerte, a co-author of the Cha-Cha bill, said the shift to a federal form of government was the “missing link” in the President’s aim for inclusive growth.

He said the Duterte administration’s goal for the country to reduce the high incidence of poverty and grow into a high-middle income economy by 2040 “can and will” happen under federalism.

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