Shift to fed­er­al­ism - 2

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

There are cur­rently 238 geo­graph­i­cal district-elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives plus 59 party-list reps elected na­tion­wide by a pro­por­tional sys­tem in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Their salaries should be con­nected with the growth or de­cline of the Gen­eral Do­mes­tic Prod­uct. Af­ter all, pro­duc­tiv­ity depends on a large ex­tend on the qual­ity of the laws that they make or do not make.

Sec­tion 10, Ar­ti­cle VII of the Puno draft con­sti­tu­tion reads: “No in­crease in com­pen­sa­tion shall take ef­fect un­til af­ter the ex­pi­ra­tion of the full term of all the Mem­bers of the Se­nate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives ap­prov­ing such in­crease. Only re­elec­tion­ists will profit from such law.

Sec­tion 5 (a), Ar­ti­cle VII of the Puno draft con­sti­tu­tion reads: “The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives shall be com­posed of not more than four hun­dred (400) mem­bers...

Thus the per­cent­age of Party-list rep­re­sen­ta­tives will be aug­mented from 20% to 40%; thus there will be 240 district-elected and 160 na­tion­wide-elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the prospected Fed­eral Assem­bly. The salaries alone would be a con­sid­er­able bur­den on the tax-pay­ers.

Where are cuts pos­si­ble with­out draw­backs to the com­mon good of the peo­ple?

With the cre­ation of re­gional as­sem­blies, the present party-list rep­re­sen­ta­tives could have more in­flu­ence in push­ing through their sin­gle is­sues. Cur­rently, they have no pro­gram for the de­vel­op­ment of the na­tion, they have no spe­cial­ized de­baters on na­tional gov­er­nance, etc. Theirs is a lim­ited ad­vo­cacy.

The rep­re­sen­ta­tives of geo­graph­i­cal units like Ako Bi­col, An Waray, Arangkada San Joseno of Bu­lakan, Asenso Manileño, Kalinga, Kusug Tausug, etc. have a much greater chance to ad­vo­cate their tar­gets in the re­spec­tive re­gional par­lia­ments.

Sec­tion 15 (c) of Ar­ti­cle XVI (So­cial Jus­tice: Role and Rights of Peo­ple’s Or­ga­ni­za­tion) reads: Peo­ple’s or­ga­ni­za­tions are bona fide as­so­ci­a­tions of ci­ti­zens with demon­strated ca­pac­ity to pro­mote the pub­lic in­ter­est and with iden­ti­fi­able lead­er­ship, mem­ber­ship and struc­ture. That is per­fectly demo­cratic.

- Erich Wan­nemacher, Ger­man ex­pat

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