By Raymund Antonio
Instead of changing the Charter, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Wednesday lawmakers should prioritize measures that will address the rising prices of basic goods and impact of the tax reform law to Filipinos.
“Imbes na maghain ng mga solusyon sa mga problemang dulot ng batas na ito, malinaw na usap-pulitika ang mas mahalaga para sa liderato ng Kamara,” Robredo, a former Camarines Sur representative, said.
(Rather than make laws to solve the problems brought about by this law, it is clear that political discussion is more important to the leadership of Congress.)
“Ang dapat tutukan ng ating Kongreso ay ang mga panukala na magpapababa sa presyo ng mga bilihin, at magbibigay ng trabaho sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.
(Congress should focus more on proposed laws that will lower the prices of consumer goods and provide jobs to our countrymen.)
Robredo’s statement came a day after the House of Representatives approved on second reading the draft constitution that seeks to shift to a federal form of government.
Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 15, authored by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was approved through viva voce voting or a vote of ayes and nays during the plenary session.
Changing the Constitution to pave the way for federalism is among the campaign promises of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Vice President told the House leadership that they should ensure first the welfare of Filipinos by addressing the nation’s most pressing problem such as inflation.
But according to the opposition leader, this is far from happening given the delayed assistance to the poor, fuel tax hike in January 2019, and charter change.
“Unahin na natin ang ating mga kababayan, at mga alalahaning pinakamalapit sa kanilang bituka at pamumuhay, kaysa sa pamumulitika,” she stressed.
(Let us first prioritize our countrymen and their concerns on hunger and daily living instead of politics.)
The Robredo camp is opposed to the implementation of the second round of the oil tax increase next year. Excise taxes on diesel and gasoline would be increased by P2 per liter under the tax reform law.
Vice presidential spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said the decline in world prices will not immediately result to the movement of prices of basic goods and services to go down.