Village chief: Charter change must not disadvantage Filipinos

A CEBU City village official has supported the move to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution as long as it would not put Filipinos at a disadvantage.

If the constitutional convention (Con-Con) would push through, Labangon Barangay Captain Victor Buendia said delegates must not include provisions that can impact Filipinos in a negative way.

Buendia was among the participants from various sectors in the public hearing on Charter Change at Seda Hotel in Cebu City on Thursday, March 16, 2023. The Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, which is chaired by Sen. Robinhood “Robin” Padilla, organized the activity.

Padilla, along with Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, promised that they would prioritize the people’s interests.

In an interview with reporters, Padilla said that Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama were among those who supported the initiative. Before the public hearing, Padilla had paid courtesy calls on Garcia and Rama, and the elective officials talked about the push to amend the 1987 Constitution, among other things.

Economic provisions

Rama also shared his views during the public hearing as one of the speakers. He expressed support for Charter change, particularly in the economic provisions.

All 11 legislators from Cebu voted in favor of the bill that will establish a Con-Con for the amendment or revision of the current Charter. The House of Representatives approved the bill on third and final reading last Tuesday, March 14.

During the public hearings held in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, Padilla said there were public officials who favored amending the economic measures.

Padilla said his office will draft a committee report that will be reviewed by former President Rodrigo Duterte and his colleagues in the PDP-Laban before authorizing the committee members to submit their report to the plenary.

Under the current provision, foreigners are prohibited from owning land in the country, but under his proposed reform, they would be permitted to own up to five hectares of land where they could set up their businesses and help improve the country’s economy.

According to the neophyte senator, Filipinos should not worry because there are still restrictions in place.

He also said that they only need P46 million to amend the Constitution if it goes through the Constitutional Assembly and is ratified at the time of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. It is lower compared to the estimated P14 billion budget for the Constitutional Convention.

‘Historical significance’

During an interview with reporters, Padilla mentioned Cebu’s historical significance as the first to create a “federal republic” during the revolution against the Spaniards; however, he did not cite sources to support his claims.

There is no historical record that Cebu formed a federal republic, but it was part of the short-lived Federal State of the Visayas.

Historian Resil Mojares mentioned in his book the creation of The Federal State of the Visayas, which lasted for only four months as Emilio Aguinaldo abolished it.

The other islands that were part of the political entity were the islands of Bohol, Negros and Panay, according to a 2021 article from Esquire Philippines.

The Esquire article states that the Federal State of the Visayas was established in December 1898 during the Philippine revolution against Spanish colonial rule.

“It was a short-lived political entity that traces its roots to the Panay Revolt of 1898. At the time, Spain designated Iloilo as the seat of government of the Visayas, owing to its loyalty to the Spanish Crown. It was much later in the Revolution when Iloilo joined,” reads a portion of the article. (PAC, TPT, KAL)