MANILA -- Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday called on his colleagues in the House of Representatives to help change the "extractive" 1987 Constitution, which he said robbed most of the country in favor of a few cities.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month approved a draft federal constitution to fulfill his promise to spread wealth and resources that have long been held in the capital, Manila. He is the first president from the main southern island of Mindanao.
Alvarez said Congress would study at least three draft federal charters: one by Duterte's consultative committee, another from the House panel on constitutional amendments, and the other one from the President's PDP-Laban party.
"There is still much work to be done as we start the third regular session. And this involves dismantling one of the most extractive institutions that has robbed the rest of the Philippines, with the exception of the few cities, of the chance to realize their potential for growth and development. I'm talking about the 1987 Constitution," Alvarez said.
Addressing critics of the shift to federalism, Alvarez said: "Yes, bad people are also responsible for the mess that we are presently in. But to miss the bigger picture and fail to understand the role that institutions play in the puzzle of prosperity and development will seal our fate and preserve mediocrity as status quo."
Alvarez said that since July 2016, the House has processed 2,929 measures and enacted 133 bills into law, including universal access to tertiary education, the strengthened anti-hazing act, and the Bangsamoro Organic Law.