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Federalism task force to complete Charter change draft by August

A DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government-led inter-agency task force is working to complete by next month a draft of constitutional amendments for the proposed shift to federal form of government and other key provisions.

Jonathan Malaya, DILG spokesperson, said Thursday members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism (IATF) are now winding up their nationwide consultations and have started consolidating the results for the draft amendments.

The DILG chairs the IATF, which was created by the President in October last year to coordinate and harmonize efforts regarding the push for federalism and changing the 1987 Constitution.

“We hope to complete the draft by the end of August then present it to the President by the first or second week of September,” Malaya told reporters at the sidelines of the “Dagyaw 2019” regional town hall meeting in Koronadal City.

Once approved by President Duterte, he said they would immediately present it to Congress.

Malaya said among the proposed key amendments are the lifting of the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution and some electoral reforms, among them the extension of the terms of elected local government officials from three to at least four years.

But he said they are also open to other proposals to ensure that it would be supported and eventually passed by Congress.

“We’re not after a major overhaul because that would be very difficult. We will select provisions that can be easily pushed,” he said.

Malaya said the President’s desire to change the Constitution “is still there” although it was not cited in his fourth state-of-the-nation address on Monday.

He said the President did not mention it since the DILG and other agencies are still working on the draft amendments.

The official said Charter change remains part of the President’s agenda as there is really a need to amend the Constitution.

While acknowledging that the current Charter has many good provisions, he said it has also “changed with the times.”

“We need to have a Constitution that addresses the needs and aspirations of our constituents. We believe that the time to amend the Constitution should be under this President or it will never happen,” he said.

Once realized, he said it will be an “ultimate Duterte legacy.” (Mindanews)

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