President Rodrigo Duterte is not considering Charter change as a priority as of the moment, while the country faces the challenge of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ang totoo po ay nakatutok ngayon ang Presidente, ang buong national government sa pamamagitan ng IATF dito po sa problema ng COVID-19,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said at a televised briefing.
“So hindi po prayoridad ang Charter change,” Roque said.
Roque also said that the President has not mentioned the passage of constitutional reforms in his weekly addresses to the nation.
Roque gave a statement in reaction to the proposal by over a thousand municipal mayors to make constitutional reforms supposedly to empower local government units.
The proposal was contained in a resolution submitted by the mayors to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Roque said he sympathized with the call of the mayors to institutionalize the ruling of the Supreme Court in 2018 to widen the base of local government units’ shares in the country’s taxes.
The mayors also called for the lifting of restrictions on foreign investment in industries that are presently limited to Filipinos.
Duterte’s proposed shift from a presidential form of government to a federal system has yet to pass Congress, which is dominated by his allies, despite amendments proposed by the Consultative Committee chaired by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno.
Duterte has argued that charter change will address economic and power imbalances in the country./Stacy Ang