The convening of a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) pursuant to Resolution of Both Houses No. 6, which was approved by the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments on 20 February 2023, is errant for the following reasons:
- Although the convening of a Constitutional Convention is the best and more popular mode of charter change, Con-Con is an inordinately expensive enterprise with a reported budget amounting to P18-billion.
- Cha-cha is both out of tune and out of step now because the government has to first fully address priority concerns on poverty alleviation, lack of food security, disastrous effects of an 8.7% inflation rate, and the adverse consequences of a possible recession.
- The following negative economic indicators militate against Cha-cha: (a) debt stock of P13.42 trillion; (b) debt service of P1.6 trillion; (c) fiscal deficit of 6.9% of GDP; (d) inflation rate of 8.7%; (e) negative balance of trade; (f) very low human development index where the Philippines ranks 116th out of 191 countries, much lower than some of its Asian counterparts; (g) poverty level of 30% of the total Philippine population; and (h) self-rated poverty of 51% of Filipino households or 77.4 million Filipinos.
- Holding the election of Con-Con delegates simultaneous with the Barangay and SK elections on 30 October 2023 will gravely taint the grassroots elections with partisan politics, while the law requires that the Barangay and SK elections should be non-partisan so much so that the village and youth elections are not held simultaneous with local and national elections to insulate them from partisan politics.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN