charter change

Local officials’ union throws support behind charter change

Herbie Gomez

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Local officials’ union throws support behind charter change

PROTEST. Members of Nagkaisa stage a protest against charter change at the Senate gate in Pasay City on January 23, 2024.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Not all local government officials, however, share the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines' position on the initiative to amend the Constitution

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – An organization of local government officials in the country on Wednesday, January 24, threw its support behind moves to amend the 1987 Constitution, saying changing certain charter provisions would harness the potential of local governments in contributing to national growth.

In a statement, the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) said a new constitution would pave the way for improved local bureaucracy, and empower local governments in resource mobilization and infrastructure development, foster better intergovernmental cooperation, and bolster future-proof local development. 

“We in ULAP believe that the country could benefit from charter change as it would make both  the national government and LGUs (local government units) more flexible and dynamic, which are necessary amid the rapidly changing environment,” said ULAP President and Quirino Governor Dakila Carlo Cua. 

ULAP serves as the umbrella organization of leagues of local governments and local officials elected.

The group adopted a resolution, citing the necessity for governmental frameworks that are more responsive, accountable, and updated. It said the frameworks would empower local governments to fully realize their potential in fostering local development and contributing to national progress.

The organization also asserted that amending the Constitution was necessary so the country could align with and address “current realities,” especially concerning issues arising from the evolving economic landscape, rapid technological advancements, and heightened global interconnectedness.

ULAP called on Congress to “give due weight to the concerns and aspirations” of local governments in the deliberation and ratification of proposed changes in the Constitution, and ensure that local concerns and proposals are heard and seriously considered.

It said the organization would actively participate in public discussions and information campaigns to represent local governments and apprise them of the proposed amendments and their potential benefits and impacts.

Differing views

Not all local government officials, however, share ULAP’s position on the initiative to amend the Constitution. 

In Cagayan de Oro, for instance, Mayor Rolando Uy said the timing of the charter change efforts was inappropriate, given that the country was still recovering from the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uy said it was important for those behind the initiative to take into account the public’s sentiment. 

He said there were previous attempts, including during his term as Cagayan de Oro’s 1st District representative during the Duterte administration, to amend the 1987 Constitution. However, none of these attempts succeeded due to strong opposition.

In Davao City, former president Rodrigo Duterte and local officials have voiced their opposition to the efforts for charter change.

Duterte’s children are actively against the current attempt to amend the charter. Sebastian, his youngest son, serves as the mayor of Davao, while Paolo, another son, represents the city’s first district. 

Vice President Sara Duterte, his daughter and former mayor of Davao, has also expressed disapproval, particularly concerning the alleged buying of signatures in support of the proposed charter amendments.

Incidentally, during the initial years of his administration, the former president made an attempt to change the 1987 Constitution but later gave up on it. – Rappler.com

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