Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Benitez is pushing for the amendment of the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution for the country to progress more.
He said the reason why oligarchs have been existing in the country is that people would always say that the rich have become richer and the poor have become poorer because foreign investors would always come to the oligarchs who have the money to be their partners in order to have business in the country because, under the Constitution, foreigners can only own 40 percent of the business and 60 percent should be Filipino owned.
This is also the reason why the country has been left behind, even by its ASEAN neighbors, the mayor said, adding, “Where do we stand? What happened to the Philippines after 37 years? We are far behind our neighboring countries."
The mayor said it has been decades since the charter change has been talked about.
He said the 12 percent signatures have been reached faster because people would want the amendments, especially on economic provisions.
Benitez cited the report of the House committee on ways and means panel chairperson and Albay lawmaker Joey Salceda
that proponents of the People's Initiative to change the 1987 Constitution by allowing both houses of Congress to jointly vote on the proposed amendments have gathered the required number of signatures needed to file their petition.
Benitez also said he has doubts if the Commission on Elections can deny the 12 percent signature that has been collected and submitted.
"What do they do about it, they will just throw it away? They can’t do that. Either they accept and comply with their mandate or they find a violation in the process. They have the mandate to uphold," Benitez emphasized in reaction to Comelec's move to stop all offices nationwide from accepting signature sheets, whose ultimate purpose is to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution.
Comelec Chairman George Garcia said it is putting the brakes on the people’s initiative to review its guidelines.
Meanwhile, Benitez said he attended the Bagong Pilipinas rally on Sunday, January 28, at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila and that the changes mentioned by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., in his speech are also aligned with his thrusts.
"The well-applauded part of the President’s speech was when he mentioned ‘Bawal ang Tamad,’ a cultural behavior that we are also emphasizing here so we are aligned with his plans," the mayor said.
On the call of Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte for Marcos to resign, Benitez said, " What is the reason to resign? What is it? I don't see any valid reason for resignation. Former president Rodrigo Duterte was talking about the People’s Initiative. Let the debate start in the initiative," he added.*