The Charter change train is finally up and running.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No 10 creating a consultative body to advise the proposed constitutional assembly that will amend the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for the shift to federalism.
The 25-member committee, to be composed of presidential appointees, will “study, conduct consultations, and review the provisions of the 1987 Constitution including but not limited to the provisions on the structure and powers of the government, local governance, and economic policies.”
A member of the committee must be “of recognized probity, independence, nationalism, patriotism, and expertise in his field.”
The Executive Secretary or his representative will sit as an observer during the committee’s deliberations. Each committee member will be allowed to hire at most two personnel to assist them in their work.
The Presidential Management Staff will be the committee’s secretariat tasked with providing technical, administrative, and staff support.
Under EO 10, the committee has to complete its work in 6 months. It will present its recommendations and proposals to Duterte, who will then submit them to Congress acting as the constituent assembly.
We are glad that Charter change has actually begun with the end in view of changing the system of government from unitary to federal by 2019.
If the federalism advocates are correct, the shift would pave the way for addressing poverty and the armed rebellion that it inevitably breeds. We really hope so.