MANILA — There will be no discussions on changing the Constitution this year as the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of the House of Representatives' charter panel said Thursday.
In a statement, House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chairman Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said the chamber would put off discussions on charter change until early next year.
"The Committee on Constitutional Amendments, following the Speaker’s suggestion, will meet in January or February next year," Rodriguez said.
The lawmaker said they would instead focus on crafting legislation geared towards the country's pandemic response.
"We have to concentrate on the measures against COVID-19 and the 2021 proposed budget."
Last July, some 1,000 town mayors expressed support for 2 changes in the 1987 Constitution:
- Lifting foreign restrictions in industries limited to Filipinos
- Sourcing internal revenue allotments (IRA) for local governments (LGU) from all national taxes other than those collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Rodriguez said he would file a bill to have the Mandanas ruling incorporated in the Local Government Code - a Supreme Court decision on a petition filed by Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas.
The Mandanas doctrine clarifies that LGUs' share from the IRA does not exclude other national taxes, such as customs duties.