A GROUP of civil society organizations (CSOs) supporting constitutional reforms to strengthen the country’s ability to deal with a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic yesterday supported the position of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año that Filipinos must discipline themselves so the country can better contain the spread of the dreaded virus.
Former Masbate Gov. Vicente Homer Revil, chairperson of the CORE Movement, said the group supports Secretary Año’s position that the number of COVID cases continue to rise because of the too many “pasaways” or violators of regulations on compliance with minimum health standards such as the wearing of face masks in public and gathering of people.
“Our people must discipline themselves so we can contain the spread of the virus. If you will not follow bio-safety rules, you will surely be exposing yourself or your fellows to the risk of contracting the COVID 19 virus, Revil said.
COVID 19 cases have been on the rise since the removal of certain restrictions on the movement of people to restart the national economy after three months of lockdown.
“We have no choice but to reopen the economy as the people in the regions will suffer more if the economy remains frozen,” Revil said.
This is the reason why the CORE Movement is pushing constitutional reforms despite criticisms from some quarters that it brings politics to the fore amid efforts to focus government attention in addressing the COVID 19 pandemic and the problems it caused on Filipinos.
“We have seen how the economy was put on lockdown along with the rest of our people when Luzon was placed under community quarantine in march,” Revil said.
The constitutional reforms sought by the CORE Movement sought stronger regional economies that would not be affected by any crisis involving other regions through the institutionalization of the Mandanas Ruling of the Supreme Court which mandated higher share of taxes collected by the national government for local government units (LGUs).
“The higher funding will give our regions more opportunities to exploit the natural capabilities of its people and greatly improve their economic performance. We hope we will have new Hongkongs and Singapores among our regions when they are fully developed,” he added.
The CORE Movement also proposed to give the existing Regional Development Councils (RDCs) the power to approve their own development programs, including the approval of projects that better suite the needs of the local population and economy.
“Discipline is definitely important and we want to make sure the regions become stronger so we can be better armed when we meet another crisis like COVID 19,” Revil said.