Gov’t won’t give up on Charter change

“Never say die!”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark responding to lawmakers who believed there was little hope for Charter change in Congress.

His comment also comes after Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson posted on social media a blog entry featuring a song and dance number that promoted federalism.

roque charter change

Roque acknowledged that federalism should be explained in a more “serious” manner although noted that Uson had “the best intentions” in uploading the video on her blog.

“I think Mocha Uson had the best of intentions kasi gusto niya talaga na mapag-usapan ang pederalismo ng mga tao na pang-araw-araw–yung mga mamamayan natin(because she really wanted federalism to be talked about as an everyday topic by our citizens),” Roque said.

Pero siguro pag usaping ng pederalismo ang pag-uusapan dapat siguro mas seryoso dahil ito po ay Saligang Batas, ang pinaka mataas na batas sa ating bayan (But perhaps, talks about federalism should be more serious because this is the Constitution, the highest law of the land),” he added.

He added that the roadshow for federalism has yet to commence this month.

Roque, however, remained hopeful, stressing that there was a possibility that Charter change would have the same wait as the second package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN).

Ganyan din po ang eksperyensa ng Palasyo doon sa TRAIN 2. Pero (That is also the experience of the Palace on TRAIN 2 but) no less than the Senate President Vicente Sotto III sponsored TRAIN 2),” Roque said.

“So we are confident po, once we are able to explain to the senators the merits of Charter Change to federalism that we will get the required support,” he added.

Roque also said the Palace will step up on its efforts to highlight the merits of federalism to the Congress and the public.

Former Chief Justice and Consultative Committee (ConCom) Chairman Reynato Puno, chairperson of the Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to draft the Federal Constitution, earlier said that criticisms on federalism “are borne out of lack of clear understanding.”

Puno said others also doubted federalism because they were “driven by fear and displeasure that they will be the losers politically and economically” should there be a shift from unitary to a federal form of government.

He, however, allayed these fears, noting that the proposed federalism Constitution is designed to have a “strong federal government” to hold together the different regions and make them equally viable and sustainable by spreading the funds and powers to the regional level.

Duterte has also created an inter-agency task force composed of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Commission on Higher Education, PCOO, and the ConCom to lead the information drive on federalism.

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier said the proposed Charter change or Cha-cha “is just waiting to be cremated”, noting that the Senate was inclined to “do nothing.”

Caloocan City 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice said Cha-cha is “dead,” thanks to Uson.

Erice criticized the viral video showing blogger Drew Olivar, Uson’s co-host in Good News Game Show, singing and dancing while making vulgar gestures to raise awareness about federalism.

The song and dance number was criticized by netizens, lawmakers, and even members of the ConCom for being “inappropriate.” (PNA)

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