No need to rush charter change: Sotto

MANILA Senate President Vicente Tito Sotto III on Thursday said the Senate sees no need to rush Charter change as there are a lot of debatable issues to hurdle, even as majority of Filipinos are still in the dark about the concept of a federal government.

Karamihan ng mga senador hindi nag-aapura dito. Mas magandang makuha muna ang mga sides ng mga kababayan natin (Majority of senators are not rushing on federalism. It is better to get the sides of our countrymen). The way it is now, the sense is that they (people) don't understand how federalism will be and what the effect of federalism to our country is, he said at a regular news forum in the Senate.

Even if we get there, the mode is (one of) the issue(s) that we have to hurdle, ang dami nating iha-hurdle na paraan at kung dapat tumawag ng con-ass. At kung con-ass, voting separately ba? Ni-review ko naman, pero maraming debatable issues pa, andami nito (Even if we get there, there are many modes we have to hurdle: do we have to convene a constitutional assembly, and if it's con-ass, do we vote separately? I reviewed it and there are many more debatable issues. There are many of them), Sotto said.

Sotto said in his personal opinion, it might be better to observe first what will happen to the Bangsamoro entity, which is an example of a region working in a federal set-up, before tackling Charter change.

Perhaps, I would rather say is that magandang experimental ang Bangsamoro Organic Act...kaya hindi natin kailangan apurahin angfederalism (Perhaps, I would rather say that the Bangsamoro Organic Act is a good start... that's why there's no need to rush federalism), he said.

Dahil federal type na ito, magandang makita natin ang epekto nito at mangyayari dito. Makikita natin dito sa Bangsamoro Organic Act kung maganda itong federal (Because it's a federal type, it's good to see its effects and what would happen next. We can see in the Bangsamoro organic act if federal is better) , Sotto said.

Sotto said it would take at least two years to observe what will happen to the newly-created Bangsamoro entity before deciding to tackle Charter change.

Sotto added that advocates for Charter change have nothing to fear with his proposal, even if the two-year observation period would end in the homestretch of the Duterte administration.

Kung makikita niyong maganda bakit sila mahihirapan? Kahit sino pang president ang susunod kung talagang maganda. E kung hindi naman maganda bakit natin gagalawin (If it is good, advocates would not find it hard to push for it. But if it is not good, why would we tackle it?), he said.

Nevertheless, the Senate President clarified that the Senate is very willing to hear Charter change and all its contending issues.

We will listen to all of them, those in favor, those against, those who are defining the issues and those who are controverting the issues. We will listen to them, he said.

Sotto stressed, however, that the Chamber would keep an independent mind and would not succumb to any pressure, except to its mandate to serve for the good of the people.

The Senate was created to be independent, fair, impartial, but courageous. And therefore, it was created to withstand not only pressure from public opinion but also pressure from presidential powers, he said.

So we will listen, but we will digest what we listened and received. And we will always decide. We shall decide on what will be good for the majority of Filipinos, Sotto said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency