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House panel votes on Charter change today

The House of Representatives’ committee on constitutional amendments is set to vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on Charter change or constitutional amendment proposals.

“We will decide what recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Constitutional Reform we will include in our report to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and the plenary,” said the panel’s chairman, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

He said his committee is treating the task force’s recommendations as the administration’s Cha-Cha proposals because it was President Rodrigo Duterte who created the group.

He said the group conducted nationwide consultations before submitting its recommendations to his committee.

Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año chairs the task force, with Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra as its vice chairman. It is composed of nine agencies.

Rodriguez said many of group’s proposals jibe with the Cha-Cha suggestions contained in his committee’s initial report.

He said the common recommendations include electing senators by region, fixing a five-year term of office for local officials and House members, and lifting foreign ownership restrictions.

“In the case of the regional election of the Senate, the task force is proposing the creation of 17 regions with two senators each for a total of 34, while in our initial report, we recommended nine regions with three senators each for a total of 27. But at least, there is consensus on the election of senators by region. In the present Senate, there is no representation from Muslim Mindanao,” he said.

As for the term of office, Rodriguez added that the Año panel is recommending five years with one reelection, while his committee is for two reelections.

“We are one in suggesting the lifting of economic restrictions so the country could attract more foreign investors. More foreign investments will translate into more jobs and income for our people,” he said.

Among the other proposals of the administration’s Cha-cha task force are provisions against political dynasties and turncoats, creation of regional authorities, allocation of a larger share of national revenues for local government units, and state subsidy for political parties.

Rodriguez said the clamor for a larger share of tax collections by the national government stems from a recent Supreme Court ruling that provinces, cities, towns, and barangays throughout the country are entitled to allocations bigger than what they are presently receiving.

Topics: House of Representatives , Inter-Agency Task Force on Constitutional Reform , Rufus Rodriguez , Alan Peter Cayetano , Eduardo Año , Menardo Guevarra
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