Cayetano proposes 'economic federalism'
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said implementing "economic federalism" is still possible if the proposed Charter change (Cha-cha) would not prosper, especially that the country continues to face the COVID-19 threat.
"We can actually revise the Internal Revenue Allotment Code and many other portions of the Local Government Code to bring us closer to economic federalism," Cayetano said in a press statement.
"So, what we will do is we will multi-task. We will continue discussing Cha-cha in the committee level, not in plenary, and then we will push for the approval of these pieces of legislation,” he added.
Economic federalism would address the concerns of the over a thousand mayors nationwide who expressed support for constitutional reforms for "economic and social progress," according to the House leader.
Cayetano, a pro-administration lawmaker, acknowledged that the timing is currently bad to push for Cha-cha, and that it is not a priority in the Lower House.
"I cannot see us calling for a plebiscite. We’re telling the people to stay home, don’t congregate, so how do we make them go to the polling precincts when we know that people naturally form crowds during elections in our country?" he said.
Nonetheless, he said he would not bar the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments from tackling Cha-cha.
"So if we can solve COVID-19 by next month and we’re up on our feet next January, February, then we can talk about Cha-cha," Cayetano said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III also said Cha-cha is not part of the priorities in the upper chamber.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian also said he does not see Cha-cha happening even next year as the country would be facing economic challenges.
"Touching the Constitution before the election year doesn't send the right signals to our constituents," he added.
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