Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Wednesday proponents of the measure seeking to amend the 1987 Constitution should drop plans to pursue it at this time, reiterating it is only a distraction from the real national problem of reviving a pandemic-hit economy.
“Hindi puwedeng umiindak tayo sa Cha-cha (Charter change) habang marami ang napipilay sa taas ng presyo ng bilihin, nawawalan ng trabaho, at nagsasara ang mga negosyo (We shouldn’t be dancing to Charter change while many people are crippled with the high cost of goods, have lost their jobs and livelihood, while many businesses have closed down),” Hontiveros said in a statement. “Malayo sa bituka ang Cha-cha (Charter change is far from being gut issue),” the opposition senator added.
Hontiveros questioned the urgency of amending the Constitution as the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes and Laws started hearing the various resolutions seeking to amend the Charter today.
She said pushing the measure against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic is ill-timed.
“Pandemya ang pinakamatinding pagsubok na dapat nating nilalagpasan, lalo pa ngayong may local transmission na ng UK variant ng COVID-19 (The pandemic is the greatest trial that we need to overcome, especially at this point where we are battling the local transmission of this UK variant of COVID-19),” she said.
“Kung hindi ito maagapan ay puwedeng tumigil na naman ang ekonomiya. Bukod pa diyan ay ang pagkakaroon ng herd immunity sa pamamagitan ng mga bakuna. Kaya sa ngayon, napakalayo sa bituka ng mga Pilipino ang Cha-cha (If we fail to arrest its spread, it’s possible that our economy will come to a standstill. Aside from that, we need vaccines to achieve herd immunity. Filipinos don’t need Charter change at this point),” she added.
Furthermore, Hontiveros said she doubts it would be beneficial for the government to relax economic restrictions in the Constitution to allow more foreign investors.
The lawmaker said this is ineffectual because global trade, which is also hard-hit by the pandemic, has significantly plummeted.
Hontiveros said it would be best for the government to spend its time addressing pandemic-induced health and economy crises first.