EDITORIAL: New Draft Charter — A Glimmer of Hope for Philippines

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DRAFT FEDERAL CONSTITUTION. President Duterte receives the copy of the proposed Federal Constitution from former Chief Justice and Consultative Committee (ConCom) Chairman Reynato Puno during a handover ceremony in Malacañang Palace. Witnessing the turnover are Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdia Concom members Atty. Lawrence Wacnang, Atty. Ali Balindong,, former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., Atty. Susan Ordinario, and Atty. Gideon Mortel.  

 

There’s a glimmer of hope for radical changes in the Philippines’ governance and political system with the submission to President Rodrigo Duterte by the Constitutional Consultative Committee headed by retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno of a draft revised constitution. The 97-page draft contained in 22 articles shifts the country to a Federal Constitution and so the constitution is aptly titled “Bayanihan Federalism: Power to the People, Power to the Regions.”

While this draft Constitution is still subject to various consultations, refinements and, above all, the disposition of the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives, it augurs well for reforms and changes which hopefully will be for the better for the country. For instance, the draft calls for a ban on political dynasties, political butterflies, and political turncoatism; and a  ban on monopolies and oligopolies that lessen competition. Also, the draft gives additional powers for the Ombudsman and Commission on Audit among others; provides for the inclusion of socio-economic rights in the Bill of Rights; and the establishment of a permanent and indissoluble nation.

From a government powered from Imperial Manila, powers and taxation and the sharing of taxes and resources are to be distributed to at least 18 proposed federated regions (not states), which are envisioned to be “socially, economically and politically viable and sustainable.” In the words of ConCom Chairman Puno: “We divided the powers of government guided by the Filipino spirit of bayanihan where both the federal government and the federated regions govern the people less in competition but more in cooperation with one another and aligned with the maxim: the welfare of the people is the supreme law.” Under the draft Federal Constitution, there are 18 federated regions composed of 16 symmetrical regions– existing regions plus Negrosanon Federated Region and two asymmetrical regions — Bangsamoro and Cordillera.

President Duterte has endorsed almost in toto the draft fundamental law of the nation, except for the provision which allows him and the Vice President to run again. The nation will now be watching how the turn of events will roll in chartering a new Constitution and charting the future of this country. They say the people get the government that they deserve and so we call upon every Filipino to contribute their in shaping a new fundamental law of the land, a new vision for the Philippines. (Philippines Today US)