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Monday, March 27, 2023

Charter change must aim to help poor – Go

FOLLOWING the approval of a bill in the House of Representatives that operationalizes the constitutional convention to introduce amendments to the 1987 Constitution, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go emphasized the need to ensure that any amendment must benefit the people, particularly the poor, and not politicians.

In an interview on Wednesday, March 15, Go reiterated that if the proposal to amend the Constitution would come to a vote, he would make sure that the interests of the people and the poor are considered.

He acknowledged that the 1987 Constitution may need to be revisited for it to be appropriate to the present times.

However, he emphasized that any amendment should prioritize the welfare of the poor.

“Perhaps, some of the provisions of the 1987 Constitution are already outdated and need fine-tuning to be appropriate for the present,” he said.

“But we have to ensure that this will be beneficial to the Filipinos, especially the poor.”

While any constitutional amendment will have to be thoroughly studied and deliberated first, Go said that there are other ways to improve the economy that do not require amending the Constitution, such as passing new laws promoting development and supporting the recovery of the country.

“For now, we can also pass laws that will help our economy without necessarily touching the Constitution,” he said.

“Once we open the Constitution for amendment, we can no longer restrict it as to how far the amendment would go. There will be no assurance that the interest of the politicians will not be prioritized,” added the senator.

Meanwhile, when asked about his stance on whether he is in favor of a constitutional convention or constituent assembly to amend the Constitution, Go explained, “If ever ConAss [is my choice]. And voting separately (the two houses of Congress), that is for us senators to exercise our rights, to express what is in our hearts. For me, the interest and welfare of the poor is primordial.”

House Bill 7352 was passed on third and final reading on Tuesday with 301 votes in favor, 7 against, and none abstaining.

It provides a comprehensive outline of the steps required to reform the Constitution through a hybrid constitutional convention.

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Author: Javier Joe Ismael

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