Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bohol Governor Against Constitutional Assembly (Con-ass)

At a time when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wants House allies to put on hold the controversial House Resolution 1109, Bohol Governor Erico Aumentado said the move is inviting a constitutional crisis.

Aumentado, delivering his 111th Independence day message called the controversial house resolution calling for Congress to convene into a ConAs is a violation of the fundamental law of the land.

Early last week, the House Resolution 1109 was passed which calls for Congress to initiate discussions on the charter change, despite an unresolved constitutional issue which the Supreme Court (SC) has to rule.

Questions as to whether the House of Representatives alone, by their sheer number can flatten out the opposition-dominated Senate and rule for the charter change.

The Senate has rejected calls for constitutional change at this time, but Speaker Prospero Nograles says lawmakers can propose amendments without the upper chamber, setting the environment for Supreme Court intervention.

Earlier, Representative Adam Relson Jala has hinted that the people can lodge a case to the SC for a definitive ruling on the interpretation of the provisions to change the constitution.

Aumentado, apparently meaning the sheer number of representatives can flatten out a senate opposition admitted he is a close Presidential ally, but declared his opposition to ConAs via only the House members.

"I can not support the ConAs with only the House of Representatives amending the constitution, without the Senate", he beamed before the crowd gathered for the customary flag raising activities on the 111th Independence Day.

In fact, he wants the SC to shoot the resolution 1109 down.

In his message delivered before a little more than a thousand local and national government employees gathered at the Plaza Rizal, the governor argued that a ConAs must be done in the true intent of the law and that is by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

He however admitted that he thinks the President is truly distancing herself from the measure seeking to convene Congress into a ConAs.

He then appealed for the people to forge a stronger unity in these times when the situation is compounded by a threatening global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, with the President's move to put on hold the resolve to convene congress into a ConAs, sources close to her said Mrs. Arroyo wanted to prioritize other measures that would provide more revenues to the country. (rachiu/PIA) 

Philippine Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) Extension with Reform bill

More projects, more agrarian related support infrastructure and services, says Atty. Johnson Sinco on the reports that the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) Extension with Reform bill has been passed.

Sinco, Bohol Agrarian Reform Officer could not contain his excitement with the development as the bicameral ruling for the extension, when ratified next month would stretch the program for another five years and give it a P150-billion funding with the ratification if the congress when their session resumes on July 27, adds DAR information officer Ma. Lydia Bantugan recently. 

"We are very thankful to all farmers, agrarian reform beneficiaries, district representatives, local leaders and social justice advocates for believing in us and allowing us more time to help farming communities improve their lot and see better future," Sinco said.

Early this week, a members of the bicameral committee reviewing the extension through a reconciled version of both House and Senate CARP measures approved the extension and pushes for the immediate ratification of the measure, sources said.  

The reconciled measures agree to the five year-extension, the restoration of compulsory land acquisition and distribution and the establishment of a congressional oversight panel to eye on the program implementation.

The Senate bill, however, allocates a budget of P147 billion, while that of the House states that the program be provided at least P100 billion.

Another irritant, which the bicameral settled is for the mode of land distribution, which is now limited to compulsory acquisition and voluntary offer to sell.

Voluntary land transfer (VLT), which was allowed in the original CARP law, was scrapped on the ground that it is not an effective mode of land distribution.

To help secure food production, the consolidated CARP extension bill also bans the conversion of irrigable and irrigated agricultural land, bicameral reports bared.

With the ratification, the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of CARP, with compulsory acquisition as the dominant mode, is extended for five years from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2014, Bantugan stressed. (rachiu/PIA)