Monday, July 18, 2016

Salceda on Charter Change: Structural change will lead to political, economic stability, help solve poverty
By Johnny C. Nunez

LEGAZPI CITY, July 18 (PNA) -- Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda has voiced his support to the proposed Charter Change, saying the country needs the “structural change” for political stability to attract more investments, which will lead to more jobs and help solve poverty problems.

Salceda, who was guest at a recent media roundtable in Manila, said he intends to co-author the bill on Charter Change filed by Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, immediately.

Charter change towards Federalism is among the leading agenda items of the Duterte administration, next to the fight against drugs, criminality and corruption.

A noted economist and economic adviser to former Philippine presidents, Salceda was governor of Albay for three terms, and won the 2nd Congressional seat of the province in the elections last May. He is credited for bringing down his province’s poverty incidence from 32 percent in 2006 to 24 percent in 2015, the lowest in Bicol.“Charter change will lead to political stability which leads to more investments which will in turn lead to more jobs, that will help the poor,” Salceda said.

He said he agrees with the popular opinion that the country needs to reexamine the 1987 Constitution and make it more relevant and responsive to present-day realities.

A Federal government setup, through a revision of the Constitution, he added, “will promote political security in troubled areas of the country, and achieve peace and political, and economic stability.”

Federalism, he pointed out, can offer rare opportunities for peace and to unite the country’s diverse ethnic, cultural and religious groups, particularly in Muslim Mindanao.

Sponsors of Federalism in Congress have set a timeline of amending the Charter in the first half of Duterte’s six-year term to put in place a transition government in the second half that will set the stage for a full federal state.

Salceda said the primary goals of Charter change includes enhanced decentralization, greater local government power and access to resources, especially among regions outside “Imperial Manila,” for them to chart their own development directions.

As Albay governor, Salceda chaired the Bicol Regional Development Council for nine years and the Luzon Area Development Council for six years. Through these councils, he introduced various development programs and strategies that sought to open economic development in the countrysides, among them the the approval of the Tutuban-Legazpi-Matnog Train, SLEX Extension to Legazpi and the Bicol International Airport in Daraga, Albay set for completion by August 2018. (PNA) JMC/JCN/EBP