IN an interview on Tuesday, January 12, after personally leading the distribution of assistance to fire victims and tricycle and padyak drivers in Obando, Bulacan, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said that he will thoroughly study plans to amend the economic provisions stipulated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, particularly now that the country aims to recover swiftly from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kung economic provision ang pag-uusapan, pabor po ako dahil 33 years na po ang Constitution at iba na po ang ating sitwasyon ngayon,” Go said when asked on his thoughts about Charter change.
“Pag-aralan po natin ang economic provisions dahil kailangan natin ng more investments going back to our recovery and restoration of normalcy sa ating bayan. Marami rin pong dapat silipin to encourage more investors,” he added.
The House of Representatives began discussing the proposed Charter change on Wednesday, January 13. Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 proposes to “liberalize the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution,” which, according to House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, is preventing the Philippines “from becoming fully competitive with our Asian neighbors.”
Velasco gave the assurance that whatever discussion in the Lower Chamber will be confined to the economic provisions only and the whole process will be transparent and fair.
The business community expressed its support, with Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Benedicto Yujuico saying that with the proposed amendments to the restrictive economic provisions, the country will be more competitive, will boost foreign investments and “and address monopolistic, uncompetitive behaviors and under-investments in some sectors critical to the public interest”.
In January of last year, Go said that he would support constitutional amendments if they are for the good of the Filipino people.
“The Constitution is for the people by the people. Para po sa akin, kung ano ang makakabenepisyo sa Pilipino ay susuportahan ko, pero kapag maamoy na namin na ang makikinabang dito ay mga politiko, hindi po kami papayag,” Go said.
Meanwhile, Go personally visited and distribute assistance to more than 500 beneficiaries composed of families who lost their houses to a fire incident, and tricycle and padyak drivers whose livelihoods were adversely affected by the ongoing crisis in Obando.
“Nakausap ko ang inyong mayor at nabalitaan kong marami sa inyo ang kailangan ng tulong, lalo na ang mga nasunugan at ‘yung mga apektado ng COVID-19. Andito ako ngayon para mabisita kayo at makapagbigay ng tulong,” Go said in his speech.
Under strict health and safety protocols, Go and his team distributed meals, medicines, financial assistance, food packs, vitamins, masks, and face shields to fifteen families affected by fire, 290 tricycle drivers, and 195 padyak drivers at Obando Central School. The senator also provided financial assistance and other forms of aid to the fire victims.
In addition to the 195 padyak drivers who received assistance, Go also committed to extend similar aid to an additional 505 padyak drivers on a later date.
“Ito pong vitamins, inumin n’yo po ito. Pampalakas po ito ng resistensya ninyo. Pag malakas ang resistensya ninyo, mas lalaban po ang katawan natin laban sa COVID-19 at iba pang sakit,” Go reminded.
Go and his team also gave selected recipients bicycles which will help them in their daily commute to work because of limited public transport options. Another set of beneficiaries were also given computer tablets for their children’s use to participate better in their classes as part of the blended learning approach. Others were also given pairs of shoes.