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Group parries flak on new Cha-cha talks

THE Constitutional Reform (CORE) Movement on Friday parried criticisms on the new talks on constitutional amendments, saying oppositors to the move have misled the people on the nature of the amendments being sought.

It’s not Cha-cha. It’s Constitutional Reform or CORE, which means amending only certain provisions in the 1987 Constitution,” said lawyer Vicente Homer Revil, CORE national chairperson.

Amendments to cure the ambiguity in the current system and reforms designed to make the country stronger, attuned to the needs of the current times, most especially in the new normal set-up,” Revil said.

Revil brushed aside the opposition posed by Sen. Franklin Drilon and the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives to the resumption of congressional hearings on proposals to amend restrictive economic provisions in the Charter and to convene both Houses of Congress as a constituent assembly.

Drilon and the Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives claimed that pushing reforms was “bad timing” in times of a pandemic and that it was only a gateway for term extension.

Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate said the revival of debates in both chambers of Congress was being used as a “smokescreen” to keep the Duterte administration in power in preparation for the 2022 national elections.

But Revil claimed that Drilon and his allies were just trying to muddle the issue of constitutional reforms by invoking the urgency to solve the pandemic which is the actual priority of the Duterte administration.

Revil said the opposition merely wanted to deny the people the benefits of a more vibrant investment climate should amendments took into place.

There is no right timing to remove ‘restrictive’ economic provisions in the Constitution than now so that Filipinos could benefit from a more responsive and attuned time,” he said.

The CORE leader further said that amendments to the economic provisions would bring about much-needed foreign direct investments and employment opportunities for the people.

The local government units as front liners in providing services and facilities in the fight against COVID-19 would have adequate resources necessary to enhance its capacity to protect the welfare of their constituents, he stressed.

Revil said the restrictions on foreign investment constraint the growth of the Philippine economy, which has suffered in decades due to low capitalization, high unemployment rate, poor infrastructures, and non-inclusive development.

As such, protectionist provisions that limit foreign ownership do not promote healthy competition in a dynamic global economy,” Revil pointed out.

The CORE Movement is pushing for “strategic amendments” only that are critical in improving competitions with other countries, empowering the regions, strengthening the powers of LGUs, among others.

We all seek reforms in our society and yet we refuse to put them into our Constitution. We continuously freeze action on the changes we need to do in our society because we fear that the restrictions will affect us first before anyone else,” Revil said.