MAJORITY SUPPORT | 15 Negros Occidental mayors back charter change

MAJORITY SUPPORT | 15 Negros Occidental mayors back charter change

Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel "Javi" Benitez said on Wednesday, January 17, that 15 mayors in Negros Occidental are supporting the moves to amend the 1987 Constitution.

Benitez, president of the Association of Chief Executives(ACE)-Negros Occidental, said that what is important is to make a consensus.

"Let it be the sentiments of the people," Benitez said.

He said, "I asked the members of ACE if they are in favor of the charter change and 15 of them said they are in favor."

Benitez said that Pulupandan Mayor Miguel Peña, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines-Negros Occidental chapter, said that he is okay with economic and political (provisions), but not okay with land ownership.

He pointed out that what is important for everyone is development.

"We need competent and smart leaders to lead our country. We have issues that are very important to us, for example, education. We also should focus on energy costs. Why do we have expensive power? If we have an educational foundation and a skilled workforce. If we have low energy costs, we could attract investors. There have been laws that have been passed already like the Public Services Act that allows foreign ownership in some industries," Benitez said.

He also cited the passage of the Retail Liberalization Act which reduces the start-up capital from P139 million to P25 million for foreign investors and the Renewable Energy Act which allows foreign ownership.

"But it will require changes in the economic provisions in the Constitution to make it legitimate," he added.

Reports have it that signature campaigns for People's Initiative have also been going on in the province.

"Maybe we will discuss charter change further during our meeting. But what we care about is the executive side, so we leave the jobs of the legislators in terms of the consensus, discussing about intricacies of the details of Constitutional Change, but 15 of the mayors said they are in favor of it," Benitez said.

He also said the ongoing people's initiative does not come from them but is led by the people.*

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