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Cha-cha debates reset to May, says Rodriguez

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The House Committee on Constitutional Reforms is set to withdraw a resolution calling for Constituent Assembly to amend key provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, panel chair, said the still unnumbered Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) that seeks to amend Articles 6, 10, 12, 14, and 16 of the 1987 charter is set to be withdrawn by his committee to hear the recommendations made Interagency Task Force on Federalism and Constitutional Reform of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Rodriguez said with upcoming withdrawal of RHB on Charter Change (Cha-cha), they need to postpone the scheduled plenary debates over the proposed constitutional until May this year to hear their proposals of the interagency body.

“We will therefore, not proceed yet with the plenary discussions on the proposed amendments,” said Rodriguez.

He said bring his panel will bring back the amendments they have earlier proposed and approved and they are going to reopen the discussions to hear the recommendations of the task force.

“This is now the DILG. And not only that, the Interagency for Constitutional Reforms is composed of 11 departments. This is something that we will always consider, considering that it involves the executive department, and we will consider their proposal,” said Rodriguez.

The Rodriguez resolution seeks to lift the economic restrictions of the post-EDSA charter by adding the phrase “unless, otherwise provided by law” in specific areas of the 1987 Constitution—natural resources, foreign ownership of land, media, education and advertising.

Rodriguez also said his committee took its cue from House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano over fixing the terms of lawmakers to five years—capable of three consecutive re-elections.

The number of senators from 12 will be increased to 27. Senators under Rodriguez’s proposal will be elected per regions, with three senators each.

Meanwhile, on top of the interagency body’s proposal is the inclusion to the new charter of the Supreme Court resolution on Mandanas v. Ochoa in which “the share from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of the local government units (LGUs) does not exclude other national taxes like customs duties.”

“All taxes, including customs collected VAT and income taxes will now be used in the computation of taxes to be distributed 40 percent to the local governments,” said Rodriguez.

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