Majority favors parliamentary - unicameral gov't
By Henry S. Lagasca
San Fernando City, La Union (5 December) -- Public consultations on the proposed charter change conducted in many parts of the country indicates public support for a shift to the parliamentary/unicameral system of government.
The initial trend was confirmed by some members of the Consultative Commission (Concom) on Charter Change during a provincial public consultation/dialogue held Saturday here led by Gov. Victor F. Ortega, also vice-chair of Concom.
Ortega, together with Commissioners Omar Amin, Jose Bello, Jr. and Amado Lagdameo, said that the Concom is a not a "rubber stamp" of the President even as they claimed that "you can not just dictate upon or buy the commissioners" to accede to the wishes of the appointing authority since the commissioners are independent-minded and have divergent views and own reservations about the new system of government.
Voicing out his personal views during the dialogue, Ortega said, however that he favors the parliamentary/unicameral form of government with an eventual transition to federal form but not until 2010.
For his part Commissioner Amin said that he is strongly proposing that the Charter should insulate the military from politics to preempt any military adventurism.
Commissioner Bello also revealed that except for Zamboanga and Quezon City, all other parts of the country have expressed support for the parliamentary system. Quezon City advocates for the retention of the presidential but with features of federalism while Zamboanga supports for the retention of the present presidential system of government.
Commissioner Lagdameo cited the need for public consultations to gather feedback on the form of government, national patrimony and economic reforms which are the three specific areas that needs revision or amendments.
Some common proposals aired by participants include the prohibition of foreigners to explore the mining resources of the country, prime agricultural lands conversion into housing or industrial/commercial purposes and the retention of the President, the Vice-President and 12 senators during the transition period.
Ortega said that the 14 government officials whose term expires on 2010 will become automatic members of the Parliament once the parliamentary /unicameral form of government is ratified by the Filipino people. (PIA Ilocos) [top]