House to start working on Cha-cha next year

House to start working on Cha-cha next year

“We will have to do it with or without the consultative commission (con-com) formed by the President last year,” Alvarez told reporters. PPD/Toto Lozano, File

MANILA, Philippines -  The House of Representatives will begin working on Charter change (Cha-cha) that will shift the nation to the federal system of government, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said yesterday.


“We will have to do it with or without the consultative commission (con-com) formed by the President last year,” Alvarez told reporters.


He said although President Duterte has created the commission through an executive order, too much work has prevented the Chief Executive from naming its members.


He said the House would no longer wait for the appointment of commission members and would tackle early next year a resolution convening the two chambers of Congress into a constituent assembly (con-ass) to tackle Cha-cha.


“Once the Senate agrees to it, we can already convene as a con-ass,” he added.


Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, one of the advocates of federalism, expressed support for Alvarez’s timeline for Cha-cha.


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Villafuerte said the sooner the nation shifts to the federal system, the better for its people and the economy.


He said the proposed shift is the “missing link” in Duterte’s inclusive growth agenda. 


Villafuerte said the switch to the federal system “is the key to equalizing the distribution of national wealth across the regions.”


Although there are several federalism proposals, there are at least two types of federal system lawmakers are advocating.


Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez is proposing a federal-presidential setup with a two-chamber Congress but with senators elected by regions.


Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Maximo Rodriguez wants a pure federal-parliamentary type with a unicameral parliament. 


Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has authored a resolution calling for changes in the Constitution’s economic provisions only.