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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, July 7, 2016
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3 senators support ConCon

Amid the call for a shift towards federalism, three senators yesterday said they want a Constitutional Convention convened to amend the Constitution.

Senators Franklin Drilon, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Manny Pacquiao, who were in Bacolod City for the inauguration of the Bacolod officials led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia, said the ConCon delegates could be elected next year and a plebiscite on whether or not to ratify amendments to the Constitution can be held before President Rodrigo Duterte's term ends.

“The proposed shift to federalism will capacitate Bacolod City and all local government units to deliver excellent basic services”, Pimentel said.

He said there is now a sub-debate on whether all the ConCon delegates should be elected or for some to be appointed.

Pimentel said he hopes an election of the ConCon delegates can be held in January and that the delegates can begin their work in May 2017.

The target is for the delegates to complete their work in one and a half to two years, and to submit their output to the people in a plebiscite during the May 2019 elections, Pimentel said.

He said he will also put a disability clause to ensure that those who ran in the 2016 elections cannot run as ConCon delegates, and that the delegates cannot run for public office.

This is to ensure that, as ConCon delegates, they will focus on reforming the Constitution and not on their future political plans, Pimentel said.

He is not sure yet if the Negros Island Region will form one region under a federal system or will be lumped together with other Ilonggo speaking provinces, Pimentel said.

Meanwhile, Pimental said he is filing his “bigger pie, bigger slice bill” to ensure that local governments get a bigger slice of the national funds.

This in insurance while we wait for a shift to federalism, he said.

Pacquiao had also said he supports the ConCon for a shift to federalism.

Federalism will be a big help for change and progress, although it still has to be discussed and debated on, he said.

Drilon, meanwhile said under his ConCon proposal there should be one delegate elected per congressional district as, that would allow the Negros Island Region to have 10 representatives.

He is proposing that the ConCon delegates be elected in May 2017, that the Concon is convened in September 2017 so plebiscite can be held in May 2020.*CPG

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