Charter body wants to ban turncoats, dynasties

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A TASK force on constitutional reforms wants to strengthen political parties, ban turncoats and political dynasties as part of changes to the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Constitutional Reform (Core) submitted its second set of proposed changes to the Charter to the House constitutional amendments committee on Friday.

The task force said the anti-political dynasty provision of the 1987 Constitution should be made self-executing. It also wants to create a democracy fund for campaign finance reforms, and extend the terms of local government officials to five years with one re-election.

“The second set of proposed amendments cover the needed political and electoral reforms to strengthen democracy and improve governance as well the equality provisions to ensure more funds flow to the provinces and spread the benefits of economic growth to all regions of the country,” Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya said in a statement.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte created the task force, which is headed by Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año, and is composed of 15 government agencies.

The task force earlier asked Congress to institutionalize a Supreme Court ruling that the just share of local government units must come from all national taxes and not just from national internal revenue taxes.

The task force also proposed to transform the Regional Development Council (RDC), a counterpart of the National Economic and Development Authority at the subnational level, into a Regional Development Authority “with a regular budget and project implementation functions.”

The council is purely a recommendatory body.

The task force also supports the “foreign ownership equity provisions” now pending in Congress.

“The Philippines is constantly lagging behind our Asian neighbors in attracting foreign direct investment in part because of the restrictive provisions of our charter,” former Secretary Gary B. Olivar of Task Force Core said in the statement.

“We should be at the level of Thailand but we are way behind. If we want to generate enough employment for all, increasing foreign direct investment is the key.” — Genshen L. Espedido