Over 1,000 mayors want constitutional reforms – Chavit Singson

Ilocos Sur Mayor Chavit Singson said Friday over 1,000 municipal mayors are pushing for President Rodrigo Duterte’s for constitutional reforms amid the country’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Singson, who was the National President of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) and Narvacan, said the 1,488 mayors support the constitutional changes that were supposed to empower local government units.

He said the mayors were particularly eyeing two constitutional that would help them attain economic and social progress in their respective localities.

Singson revealed that an LMP endorsed a proposal to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año. The said resolution suggests institutionalizing the so-called Mandanas Ruling of the Supreme Court in the Constitution. It also proposed lifting the restrictions on foreign investment in industries that are currently limited to Filipinos.

Singson said the mayors believe that institutionalizing the Mandanas Ruling would ensure that regions would have their fair share of the taxes the national government collected.

The reform would also allow poor regions to be on par with the progress of rich ones such as the Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, and Metro Manila, Chavit Singson added.

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“Institutionalizing the Mandanas ruling will be a big help to poor regions. Every municipality especially the poor ones are short of funds and they will definitely welcome all additional budget, especially since this will help their development,” he said.

The mayors also claimed that giving foreign investors the right to own the majority of operations of local firms would benefit their people provided that the workers’ rights were protected and foreigners would still be banned from owning land.

Interior Department Spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, meanwhile, said the national government welcomed the mayors’ support.

“The municipal mayors are the ones who know the real score in the communities, especially in the areas where millions of Filipinos have wallowed in poverty for a long time,” Malaya said.

“Their support of this agenda means they recognize it as a necessary corrective measure to achieve the President’s agenda to make our people’s lives better, especially now that we need to recover from the impact of COVID 19 on our country’s economy,” he added.