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PIA Press Release

Commentary: The tide has turned in favor of constitutional reform

Tacloban City (28 August) -- The tide has turned in favor of Constitutional Reform when advocates of the people's initiative formally filed their petition to the Commission on Election on August 25.

The joint petition seeking to directly amend the Charter through a people's initiative, was filed by thousands of supporters and members of Sigaw ng Bayan and the 1.7 million-strong Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

The historic petition which seeks to transform the present US-style bicameral presidential system into a parliamentary system with a unicameral assembly, is seen as the "last chance for change" to break the "deadlock in our democracy" and eliminate the political standoff that has long marred relations between the Senate and Malacaņang Palace.

The latest public opinion surveys have shown that more Filipinos are now in favor of Charter change and have endorsed People's Initiative as the most favored mode of introducing amendments. Support for a convention has fallen and is the least favored by Filipinos, the surveys showed.

The people are of the same opinion that the present system with a bicameral Congress-the Senate and the House-is dominated by gridlock, resulting in low legislative output of the legislature despite the urgency to pass such laws as the Anti-Terrorism Act.

It has been noted that there has been no coup attempts and impeachment crisis in all the successful parliamentary governments in Europe and Asia . The shift to a parliamentary system and unicameral assembly is hoped to install in the Philippines a political structure free of destabilizing coup attempts or frequent impeachment crisis which derail the government's focus on the development and growth of the country.

It is prayed that the Charter Change will succeed so that the Philippines which has lagged behind its neighbors in Southeast Asia in economic development and is exposed to the risk of being overtaken by the poorer countries of the Region because of political destability, would be able to reach the status of first-world society in 20 years or less. (PIA 8) [top]

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