House can focus on federalism with budget process nearly done

By , on August 31, 2017

FILE: Flag of House of Representatives (Photo by Exec8, Public Domain)
FILE: Flag of House of Representatives (Photo by Exec8, Public Domain)

MANILA — The chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations on Thursday said Congress can now go full blast in amending the Constitution with the budget deliberations on the proposed 2018 budget nearly done in the lower chamber.

Appropriations Committee chair and Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles made the statement following the second Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting called by President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.

The shift to federalism is among the common legislative priorities of both the legislative and executive departments.

“Now that we’re just about done with passing the proposed PHP3.767-trillion budget for next year, both Houses of Congress can focus its collective powers on effecting true change via federalism,” Nograles said.

Nograles said federalism could be the solution to the deeply-rooted problems of the country such as insurgency, terrorism, and poverty.

The Appropriations Committee has conducted deliberations on the proposed 2018 budget for the whole month of August.

The House plenary debates, on the other hand, are scheduled from September 4 to 8. It is expected to be signed into law by November.

On Wednesday, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Congress would likely convene into a constituent assembly (Con-Ass) early next year to draft a new Constitution that would enable the shift to a federal form of government.

The Speaker said Wednesday that the House and Senate are set to discuss when they would convene into a Con-Ass for the purpose of tweaking the 1987 Constitution.

Alvarez said leaders of both Houses of Congress have agreed to meet to lay down their timetable determining the best time to convene into a constituent assembly for the purpose of drafting a new federal Constitution.

Last week, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments created four technical working groups tasked to draft the Philippine Federal Constitution.

The lawmakers agreed to submit the final draft of the Philippine Federal Constitution to the House Committee on Rules by December this year. (PNA)