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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Tell it to Sun.Star: Path of least resistance

CALLING for a constitutional convention is the best way to achieve Charter reforms, as it is “clearly the path of least resistance.” If we want Charter reforms to succeed, we have to do it right. We have to learn the lessons of the past.

There is definitely less resistance to, and more support for a constitutional convention in the House as well as in the Senate.

Previous administrations had tried, without success, to sell to the people the idea of Congress converting itself into a constituent assembly for the purpose of revising the 1987 Constitution.

In the past, those strongly opposed to a constituent assembly were mostly wary that members of Congress might introduce self-serving amendments, including the lifting of restrictions to the number of terms they and their family members may serve in elected offices.

The House committee on constitutional amendments, voting 32-7 with three abstentions, earlier approved a concurrent resolution calling on Congress to convene itself into a constituent assembly.

The people are entitled to elect a new set of representatives to propose improvements to the Constitution.

We in Congress were not specifically selected by the people to tamper with and mess around with the Constitution. We were chosen as district and party-list representatives mainly to pass laws.

There is also the need for Congress to directly involve the people, especially the younger generation, in the process of renewing the country’s 29-year-old Constitution.

And one sure way to engage them from the start is via a constitutional convention, where they will have the chance to expressly elect their representatives. This way, the proposed modifications will also be easily ratified once these are submitted to the people in a plebiscite.

In a constituent assembly, Congress itself sits down to recommend revisions to the Constitution. In a constitutional convention, the people will elect representatives who will suggest alterations to the Constitution.

In both cases, the proposed changes will require final direct approval by the people in a referendum.

President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Constitution reformed so that the country can shift to a federal-parliamentary form of government.--Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, House senior deputy minority leader

Household incomes

How much does it take to be considered rich in the Philippines? That’s $3,253 per month, or $39,048 per year.

On average, a middle class household has four members, lower than an average family size of six among poor households. While this does not mean that family size causes poverty, it suggests that those with low incomes may be further weakening their purchasing power with more household members to support.

Median middle class household incomes are $1,087 per month, and $13,044 per year. Median means half earn more, half earn less.

That’s why when we attend Sunday mass at Ayala, families with one or two children are now considered the norm. Economic growth rates across Southeast Asia would have you believe Filipinos belong to the fastest growing middle class among nations.

Next time President Rodrigo Duterte speaks with God, he needs to ask just how far he can push these Filipinos, before they rise up and declare, “You don’t get to take away the Toyota Wigo!”

That time will be approaching within the year, and Duterte doesn’t even see it coming.--from Tony Padua
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