Constitutional reform 'not a priority', pandemic measures to continue: solon

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 21 2020 09:06 AM | Updated as of Jul 21 2020 09:17 AM

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MANILA - The approval of Constitutional reforms is not a priority and government measures against the COVID-19 pandemic will continue, a lawmaker said Tuesday as critics questioned the timing of the proposals.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments, earlier said he would call for a virtual meeting during the first 2 weeks of Congress’ second regular session or after President Rodrigo Duterte's penultimate State of the Nation Address.

"We will continue with the COVID-19 measures and certainly it is being implemented and there will be more but at the same time I believe that we should now tackle this and discuss this," he told ANC.

"It's not really a priority, we’re just discussing it. What is wrong with discussions? There is no approval yet of any amendment."

Rodriguez said he was in favor of economic amendments proposed by some 1,486 town mayors which includes lifting of the restrictions on foreign investments and inclusion of the Mandanas ruling in the Constitution.

"We’re the only country in the Southeast Asia which has constitutional prohibition on investments and that is why we’re lagging behind. The mayors also saw this, why there are less jobs in the country," he said.

"These are two worthy proposals to be considered, not necessarily to be approved because I am just a chairman...At this point, what I am thinking about are the economic changes that should be done, the lifting of foreign investments because we need more jobs in this country, especially because of this pandemic, we should be able to invite a lot of investors in this country."

As for political amendments, Rodriguez said he was in favor of including a provision in the Constitution implementing the prohibition of political dynasties.

"I believe that there’s still a chance we’re able to approve this if we think of the future and the generations to come, I think we should be able to approve an anti-dynasty provision in the Constitution," he said.

Vice President Leni Robredo earlier government to refrain from pushing for charter change during the pandemic, which she said needed an "all hands on deck" approach.

The interior department, meantime, assured the public that there were no proposals to cancel the 2022 national elections.