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House to approve Charter changes in January

Gerry Lee Gorit, Jess Diaz - The Philippine Star
House to approve Charter changes in January
Rodriguez, however, said based on public consultations his committee has conducted in Luzon and Mindanao, there is overwhelming support for at least four major amendments.
The STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives intends to approve its proposed Charter change amendments, including the lifting of term limits and shift to federalism, in the next three months.            

“By Dec. 11, we will approve the proposed amendments in our committee. Plenary approval is slated in January. By February, the approved changes will already be with the Senate,” Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who chairs the committee on constitutional amendments, said yesterday.

Administration officials have said federalism is no longer a priority of Duterte.

Rodriguez, however, said based on public consultations his committee has conducted in Luzon and Mindanao, there is overwhelming support for at least four major amendments.            

“Participants are for lifting restrictions on foreign investments to increase more employment in our country, and they are for shifting the nation to the federal-presidential system to develop the countryside,” he said.            

Rodriguez noted that the proposed shift was a 2016 election campaign promise of President Duterte.

“The President and his congressional allies can still fulfill that promise,” he said.            

He said there is also popular support for lengthening the term of office of local officials and their representatives in Congress from three years to five years “to give them more time to finish their programs and projects for their constituents, and for the election of senators by region to ensure regional representation in the Senate.”            

He said the present two-chamber Congress would be retained in the envisioned federal-presidential system that would replace the present “unitary and centralized” setup.            

Rodriguez pointed out that lawmakers have enough time to introduce changes in the Constitution during the remaining two-and-a-half years of the Duterte administration.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
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