BACOLOD

Aguilar: Constitutional reform please

Against the current

HOW our government structure was designed in our Constitution was actually pretty good. For one, our fundamental rights were clearly secured. But sadly, the same structure can no longer address the present plight of the people. We don't have to look far to see indicators of the quality of life most of us are in right now. It has served its purpose alright but it's high time to reengineer it.

The Covid-19 pandemic has magnified the gaps in our government, crushing the poor to the ground while keeping the rich afloat, no one can escape the view of poverty amidst affluence. There has got to be more safety nets in place for social welfare. When a household has no more food on its table, it should not be dependent on the caprices of the barangay leader or any politician for relief. When the family cannot afford house rent after losing source of income, they should not be at the mercy of the landlord. And when a sick one has no PhilHealth insurance he should not be left unattended to die.

All these can be addressed by changing the framework in governance, provided that the new framers should not come from Congress, otherwise, all provisions will only serve the interests of the congressmen and the senators. From the looks of it, only the left-leaning party lists are true to their commitment to forwarding the cause of the poor. The rest are dogs eating dogs. We can already predict what kind of constitution they will push in case they are put in charge to draft a new constitution.

The best way to go for constitutional reform would be to create an assembly of representatives from the different sectors and then design the next structure anchored on social democracy where we don't mind if taxes are higher or that the government owns majority share of the big corporations, so long as the basic services that promote human dignity should be assured regardless of who you are.

Simply put, as the government controls corporations to an extent, water and electricity within the monthly limit can even be given free for all while the excess is charged, socialized housing should be accessible too even to the unemployed, and public healthcare should really be free for all regardless of whether one has PhilHealth or not. That is what universal healthcare should mean. I mean, I don't understand why even a street kid here had to pay P100 for a tooth extraction at a government facility and they call it donation.

Apparently, all these basic issues escape the concerns of our politicians every day while infrastructures top their priorities.

What is happening now is that our leaders are trapped in the cycle of getting the most budget and spending them in such ways that they are assured of their cut. Before they talk of strategies to eradicate poverty, they first talk of roads, buildings and the bidding process of such. Believe me, even a neophyte politician gets to master that in no time. That is a clear dead end however good our leaders are.

So it's high time to sit down and change our structure. If a three-story house was ideal before, maybe now we need a bungalow with smaller partitions so that the disabled Lolo, whose room is in the attic, would not have to suffer from climbing up and down in the middle of the night just to go to the toilet located on the ground floor.

Yes, we are still in crisis, but it is precisely why we should have a constitutional reform so we can all survive this.


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