May 27, 2024

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House panel holds public consultation on Charter change in Bulacan

The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments successfully held its public consultation on legislative measures pushing for constitutional reforms on Saturday, February 18, in San Jose Del Monte (SJDM) City, Bulacan province.

Nearly 700 participants from various sectors attended the public consultation hosted by SJDM City Rep. Florida “Rida” Robes and her husband, Mayor Arthur Robes at the City Convention Center in Barangay Sapang Palay Proper.

Rep. Robes, who chairs the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, said the consultation is important to get the views and feedback of the public on proposals to amend the 1987 Constitution which provisions, according to her, are no longer attuned with the current times.

“Kailangan natin ito upang masigurado na ang inaamyendahang Konstitusyon ay matibay. Tatlumpu’t anim na taon na ang nakalilipas at marami na ang nagbago at maraming dapat ayusin,” the lawmaker pointed out.

She added: “Ang layunin ng pampublikong konsultasyon ay malaman ang saloobin ng nakararami kung dapat nga bang magkaroon ng repormang konstitusyunal sa anumang pamamaraan gagawin ang reporma at ano ang mga iminumungkahing reporma. Kabilang dito ang pagsulong ng repormang makapagpapabuti sa ekonomiya ng bansa kagaya ng pagluwag sa investment barriers.

“Hindi maikakaila na kailangan natin ng reporma kaya tayo ay magkakaisa sa pagsulong ng repormang makatutulong sa ating mahal ng Pangulong Bongbong Marcos at higit sa lahat para sa isang matatag na pamayanan ng Pilipinas.”

Zamboanga del Sur 1st District Rep. Divine Yu, vice chair of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, presided over the public consultation in SJDM City, which was the fourth out-of-town consultation conducted by the panel, after Cagayan de Oro City, Iloilo City, and San Fernando City in Pampanga.

Yu expressed hope that through the series of public consultations, the House will be able to gauge public sentiment on the following: whether or not it is necessary to amend the Constitution; if yes, the preferred mode of amendment; and what specific amendments would they like to propose.

Former National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos, one of the panelists, said it is imperative to change the basic law of the land because “we discovered that the conditions upon which the 1987 Constitution has been established have changed.”

“Nag-iba na po ang ating beliefs systems, nag-iba na po ang ating geopolitics, nag-iba na po ang istruktura ng ating pulitika, at nag-iba na po ang ating mga goals bilang isang bansa,” Carlos said.

Carlos, who now heads the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department of the House of Representatives, said the Constitution is not as cast in stone but as open to change so that it stays abreast with new developments.

“Ang Konstitusyon naman po ay hindi isang dokumento na parang sya ay nakatanim sa granite. Siya po ay dapat baguhin kung siya ay hindi na umaayon sa mga tinatawag na aspeto sa ating buhay araw-araw at kailangan na siyang baguhin,” Carlos said.

House Assistant Majority Leader and Leyte 4th District Rep. Richard Gomez said the amendments to the 36-year-old Charter, particularly its restrictive economic provisions, are “urgent and overdue.”

Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo, meanwhile, presented the adverse effects of the restrictive constitutional provisions on the lives of Filipinos and the possible benefits in making these provisions more open. 

Also present during the consultation were Reps. Rossana “Ria” Vergara of Nueva Ecija 3rd District, Danny Domingo of Bulacan 1st District, Loreto Amante of Laguna 3rd District, Zaldy Villa of Siquijor, and JC Abalos of 4Ps Partylist; Bulacan Vice Governor Alex Castro; and former ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio.