Not a peso should be spent for Con-con; give P28B to poor families instead — Makabayan
MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Makabayan coalition again assailed proposals to amend the 1987 Constitution through a constitutional convention (Con-con), saying that not a single peso should be spent on delegates as many poor families can benefit from the budget.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Rep. France Castro on Thursday said that their estimates show that having a Con-con with the proposed P10,000 per day allowance of delegates may push the overall budget needed to P28 billion, which could be given as social aid instead.
“We must also take into account that the cost, for Con-con could reach P28 billion, according to the National Economic and Development Authority. With P10,000 per diem allowance for Con-con delegates from Nov. 21, 2023 to June 30, 2024 as well as travel allowance and housing,” Castro said in a statement.
“Ang P28 billion ito sana ay ibigay na lang na ayuda, na kung P10,000 kada pamilya ay 14 million Filipino ang makikinabang. Sana ay makinig ang Kongreso at Malacañang sa taumbayan dahil ang kailangan ng mga Pilipino ngayon ay ayuda at dagdag na sahod, hindi Cha-cha (Charter change),” she added.
(This P28 billion can be given as social aid, if we have P10,000 per family then 14 million families would benefit from it. I hope Congress and Malacañang listens to the people because what the people need are social aid and higher wages, not Cha-cha.)
According to Castro, it is also perplexing why the Department of Finance through Secretary Benjamin Diokno, during the briefing of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) last Tuesday, committed to the provision of funds for the Con-con.
This is because President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said early February after coming from Japan that Cha-cha is not a priority since the country can get investments without amending the Constitution.
“It is infuriating that, while President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has said that Charter change is not his priority, Department of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno has committed to fund the implementation of a proposed constitutional convention, which the Commission on Elections has told lawmakers that it may require an additional P3.827 billion to hold the election for Con-con delegates alongside the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections,” Castro noted.
“Habang palaging wala ang sagot o kaya ay kakarampot ang binibigay kapag humihingi ng ayuda at taas sahod ang mga mamamayan, todo ratsada naman ang adminkstrasyong Marcos sa pagtutulak ng Cha-cha sa pamamagitan ng Con-con. Sa Cha-cha ratsada, sa taas sahod nga-nga,” she added.
(Meanwhile, the answer when we are asking for social aid and wage increases is either none or a meager amount only, but the administration is pushing for Charter change. Quick on Cha-cham but none for wage increase.)
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares also claimed that the P10,000 per day per diem may be excessive, and appear self-centered.
“Kahit piso hindi dapat gamitin sa Con-con delegates kung sila-sila lang and without the anti-political dynasty law being passed, lalo na’t hindi naman solusyon ang Cha-cha sa mga problema nating kahirapan at korapsyon” he said.
(Not even a peso should be used for the Con-con delegates, and without the anti-political dynasty law being passed, Cha-cha would not be a solution to our problems of poverty and corruption.)
During the committee deliberations on House Bill (HB) No. 7532, another Makabayan member in Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas questioned the proposed P10,000 per day allowance.
Another Minority lawmaker in Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza stated that it would be more practical to use a constituent assembly in amending the Constitution, as it would be cost-efficient since no elections would be needed.
Despite these, HB No. 7532 — which if enacted, will be the enabling law to Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 which calls for a constitutional convention — was approved by the Committee. It was brought to the plenary during Wednesday’s session for deliberations. With reports from Mae Anne Bilolo, trainees
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