256 local governments back constitutional reforms
DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the local chief executives are from 60 provinces in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and Cordillera Administrative Region.
Michael Varcas
256 local governments back constitutional reforms
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - December 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — At least 256 local chief executives have expressed their support for the government initiative of amending provisions of the 1987 Constitution, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said yesterday.

DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the local chief executives are from 60 provinces in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and Cordillera Administrative Region.

Among the officials who expressed their support for constitutional amendments are seven governors, 11 vice governors and at least 105 mayors. The rest are vice mayors and other local officials.

Aside from local officials, the DILG and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Constitutional Reform (Task Force CORE) have obtained 22,469 signatures of support from various citizens since they relaunched their roadshow campaign last month.

Malaya hopes the pledge of support from various local officials and citizens would convince lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives on the need to amend the Constitution.

They plan to submit the signatures and statement of support to Congress next year.

“We see this as an opportunity for government to become more responsive to the regions.

The feedback we are getting from the public has been very positive,” Malaya said.

Malaya said they are reaching out to everyone, including those in far-flung areas, to fulfill their mandated to inform and educate the public about the need to amend the 1987 Charter.

“Through our CORE roadshows tagged as Balangayan, we will continue to do consultations in all provinces in the country, hear their voices and discuss the merits of CORE to the lives of every Filipino,” he said.

Malaya earlier said they submitted the proposals to the House committee on constitutional amendments last week.

Among the proposals submitted to the House were the provisions to strengthen political parties, the prohibition of turncoats, the execution of the anti-political dynasty provision as mandated by the Constitution and the extension of the terms of local government officials to five years with one reelection.

Malaya urged the Senate to begin public hearings on proposed amendments to the Constitution similar to what their counterparts in the House had been doing.

“As soon as we’re called by the Senate, we will also submit to them the package of reforms we earlier submitted to the House,” he said.

Jose Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said the amendments to the Constitution should be done in 2020 as the expected dynamics will change as presidential hopefuls start their preparations the following year for the next national election in 2022.

“The window of opportunity is getting smaller because of the dynamics of the 2022 election,” Casiple said.

Malaya echoed Casiple’s assessment, describing 2020 as the battleground in amending the Constitution.

“That is really the period if we have significant movements,” he said.

CHIEF EXECUTIVES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
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