Press Release
May 29, 2010

Amendments to the Economic Provisions of the Constitution should be done in the first 100 days of the next administration - Angara

Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that if we are to amend the economic provisions of the constitution, it should be done within the first 100 days of the new administration in order to get support rather than suspicion.

"Growth and development in other countries are relatively faster because their constitutional regime is not as rigid as ours - economic provisions of their constitution are more flexible. However, I don't suggest that we change the form of government because it is a very divisive issue. Instead, lets amend the economic provisions first as that will gear our country to progress," said Angara, one of the youngest delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention and the longest serving Senator.

He added, "Constitutional change should be done during the first 100 days because beyond that, people will again debate not on the merit of the amendment but the motive of the proposal."

Further, Angara said that any move for amending the constitution has two issues. The first one involves the subject or which provisions will be modified. The second concerns the timing of the call for change. These two, however are inexplicably linked. As far as political and structural change is concerned, constitutional modifications at present is not urgent. It is the economic problem of the country that needs critical attention and should be prioritized by the government.

Angara explained that in every year that the amendment of economic provisions of the constitution are left unsettled, two to five million Filipinos drops below the poverty line, according to the calculations of economists. This means that many of our citizens are surviving on less than one dollar a day, which is, in Philippine peso, less than one hundred pesos a day.

The senator suggested that it is about time we amend the economic provisions of the Constitution in order to open up our economy. In Asia, he said, the Philippines is perhaps the only country running in a closed economy. He told that experience of our neighbors like China and South Korea will tell us that we can achieve faster economic development after we reverse this policy.

"This is also a technical matter. It is between revision and amendment that are rather two different things. A revision entails the opening of the whole constitution while an amendment only covers certain specific changes in the charter. If it's only an amendment, I think our countrymen should not worry as it will not include term-extension," Angara clarified.

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