MAP backs charter change only if done thru ‘Con-Ass’


THE Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) said it supports charter change, provided that amendments will be done through a “constituent assembly,” or “con-ass,” citing it is “less costly,” among others.

“We agree provided that it is limited to the economic provisions. So the limitations are on the economic provisions. And that it should be through a constitutional assembly,” MAP President Benedicta Du-Baladad told reporters on the sidelines of MAP’s news briefing on the campaign against child malnutrition in Taguig City.

The MAP head cited the reasons for the business group’s push for constitutional reform through “con-ass” instead of a constitutional convention (“con-con”), another mode to amend the charter.

“The reason being, in a constitutional assembly, you can actually limit the coverage of what we can do. So if the constitutional assembly says okay we can limit this…only to economic provisions changes that affect economic provisions, that would be good,” Du-Baladad said last Wednesday.

She added that amending the 1987 Constitution through “con-ass” is “faster” and “less costly.”

Last March, local business groups led by the Makati Business Club (MBC) issued a statement calling on the Senate to ditch amending the Constitution through a con”-con.” The business groups noted that at least P14 billion of such allocation could be “better spent” on pro-people programs, such as on agriculture.

The groups said in a joint statement that estimated financial cost could reach as high as P28 billion. Aside from the MBC, these groups include the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex), Justice Reform Initiative, Filipina CEO Circle, Philippine Women’s Economic Network Inc. and Women Business Council Philippines.

Costs, provisions

CITING estimates by the National Economic and Development Authority, the groups said a “con-con” would cost from P14 billion to P28 billion.

These groups also noted that House Bill (HB) 7352 calling for a Con-con proposes around 300 delegates who would get P10,000 per day, or a total of P3 million per day, or more than P400 billion for the 7-month project.

“We believe these funds can be better used on agriculture to address the high inflation, transportation to enable Filipinos to get to work and home in much less time, and social services like health, education, and social security,” the groups stressed.

With supermajority votes of 301, the House of Representatives endorsed for Senate approval on March 14 the proposed Constitutional Convention Act, the accompanying bill of the Resolution of both Houses calling for a Con-con.

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez repeatedly assured the public that the House constitutional reform initiative only aims to rewrite the “restrictive” economic provisions of the Constitution to enable the country to attract more foreign investments.

Ebb Hinchliffe, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham), has told reporters that the AmCham is “supportive of the [tweaking of] economic provisions only.”

“The rest, I’ll leave it to the Filipino people—whether they should change the term limit of the President, that’s up to the Filipinos, not the foreign chambers,” Hinchliffe said last Wednesday.

“The only thing AmCham is really advocating for very strongly—and I’m working with senators—[and] closely [are the] economic changes to the constitution. That’s the best thing we can do to get more foreign direct investments in,” the AmCham official added.

Image credits: Zatletic |