Angara says amending economic provision of the Charter needed

June 10, 2009 12:06 pm 

MANILA, June 10 — Senator Edgardo Angara admitted on Wednesday that the proposed amendments to the economic provision of the Constitution were long overdue.

The lawmaker, however, clarified that it is not a perfect time and atmosphere to discuss the important provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

”Pushing of political and structural changes in the constitution, like change type of government, is in a bad timing. The creation of a constituent assembly during these times is not a perfect idea,” Angara said.

Angara explained that the move for amending the Charter has two issues namely one that involves the subject or which provisions will be modified and the concerns of timing of the call for change.

”These two, however are inexplicably linked. As far as political and structural change is concerned, constitutional modification at present is not urgent. It is the economic problem of the country that needs critical attention and should be prioritized by the government," he said.

Angara said that in every year that the amendment of economic provisions of the constitution are left unsettled.

”Two to five million Filipinos drops below the poverty line, according to the calculations of economists. This means that many of our citizens are surviving on less than one dollar a day which is, in Philippine peso, less than one hundred pesos a day,” he explained.

Angara said the economic provisions of the Constitution should be revised in order to open up the country’s economy to the world.

”In Asia, he said, the Philippines is perhaps the only country with a closed economy. He told that experience of our neighbors like China and South Korea will tell us that we can achieve faster economic development after we reverse this policy,” Angara said.

Angara allayed fears of the Filipino people, explaining that revision and amendment are two different things.

”A revision entails the opening of the whole constitution while an amendment only covers certain specific changes in the charter. If it's only an amendment, I think our countrymen should not worry for the ground that it will open the whole constitution for provisions and will include a term-extension," Angara clarified.

Angara suggested that that all concerned parties like the church, non-government organizations (NGOs) and electoral reform groups should bring out their individual amendments to be debated by those who will run for the presidential post and challenge them to implement these changes in their first 100 days in office, if ever elected.

”This move of the lower house is a very thin argument and unconstitutional. The Senate should not be left out by the House of Representatives in amending the highest law of the land,” Angara said. (PNA) /V3/jfm/

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