Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the DILG’s priority is to respond to COVID-19 but claimed that pushing for Charter change is part of the agency’s mandate.
Krizjohn Rosales, file
Palace says Charter change not a priority
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 19, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Charter change is not a priority of the government at a time when the country is grappling with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Malacañang said yesterday.

Previous reports said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) had ordered its regional offices to continue collecting up to two million signatures to support changes to the 1987 Constitution.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the DILG’s priority is to respond to COVID-19 but claimed that pushing for Charter change is part of the agency’s mandate.

“Well, this has been explained by (DILG spokesman) Usec. (Jonathan) Malaya. It’s not really a priority, they are continuing because the mechanism is there. But they are really focused now on COVID-19,” Roque said at a press briefing.

‘Fake news’

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has denied that his department is keen on pushing Charter change amid the ongoing pandemic.

Año tagged as “fake news” the report that the DILG is pushing for two-million signatures from Filipinos in support of the administration’s constitutional reform (CORE) program.

As he denied the news report, an attached unit of the DILG said they are still pursuing the online signature campaign for amendments to the 1987 constitution.

The CORE Movement said in a statement that they are eyeing to get two million signatures in support of the constitutional amendments but this would be done online.

CORE Movement national chairperson Vicente Homer Revil said the push for amendments will address flaws in the Philippine economy exposed by the COVID-19 crisis, noting that 73 percent of the economy was frozen due to the quarantine imposed over Luzon. Romina Cabrera

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