Salceda wants ‘lean Constitution’


By Saul Pa-a

TAGAYTAY CITY -- House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chair, Albay Representative Joey Salceda, has called for a Constitutional reform that would establish a “lean Constitution”.

“In the Philippines, Constitutions are born only by and when there is a revolution and we are attempting to review the structural change in the 1987 Constitution or to really tinker a perceived dysfunctional constitution,” Salceda said.

Salceda addressed more than a hundred local and foreign delegates to the “International Conference on Public Sector Productivity” themed “Shaping a Future-Oriented and Smart Public Sector” from Nov. 22 to 23, 2018 at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) in this city.

He said there seems to be the inability of the Philippines as a nation to change its Constitution simply because all constitutional reforms were born in the streets.

He pointed out that changes are moving so fast that Constitutional changes take a very long time to be adopted.

He proposed a Constitution that focuses on certain basic rights and system of government, but must let Congress adopt, fix, or amend laws in accordance with changes in the situation.

“Not necessarily Federalism, but let a lean Constitution empower government to quickly experiment with new and different institutions to cope with fast changes,” he said.

]He added that government must strategically retreat from many activities best left to the private sector; and opined that public-private partnership serves as a mid-step over the inability to change the Constitution.

He also said that government shall outsource to private companies what it has no competence to do so.

“Government is not totally bereft of the ability to innovate effectively and efficiently to implement projects,” he added, stressing “government must focus on key functions on national defense, maintaining peace and order, sound money, providing basic education and health, among others, which could not be left to the private sector,” he said.

He also proposed for the “right of broadband” otherwise known as the “right to internet access” or “freedom to connect” to be enshrined in the Constitutional provisions on the citizen’s civil rights.

He referred to the United Nations Resolution which declares online freedom to be a human right that must be protected, since the resolution stresses that “rights that the people have offline must also be protected online”.

“Although the UN Resolutions are not legally binding, countries like Costa Rica, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece and Spain have declared access to the Internet to be a basic human right,” Salceda said.