CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A lawmaker is optimistic that the proposed amendments to the country’s 1987 Constitution will be passed in Congress and ratified before the term of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte ends in 2022.

Second District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said he’s confident that the House of Representatives (HoR) will fast track the discussion and approval on the changes on some provisions of the Constitution that before they will take a break on March next year, they already have voted for the approval of the amendments. After this, they will transmit it to the Senate by April.

“It is up to the Senate how they will look at it,” Rodriguez told reporters on the sidelines of the public consultation on the Constitutional changes held at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines gymnasium on Friday (Nov. 15).

Among the amendments discussed during the consultation were the proposed shift from the unitary and centralized system of government to federal, the lifting of the economic provisions limiting the foreign ownership of corporations, and the extension of terms of elected officials from three to five years.

If the majority members of the HoR will give the proposed amendments their full support, Rodriguez said it will push Pres. Duterte to campaign for it.

“If the President would see there is a strong support in Congress, then he will be encouraged again to go back to his original advocacy and to make a strong push (for it),” he said.

He noted that a federal form of government was what Pres. Duterte advocated during the presidential campaigns.

Elsito Obsioma, 66, a village councilor from Tagpangi who participated in the public consultation, expressed his support to the Constitutional changes.

“The intention is good because it will benefit us all. It is also advantageous for us barangay officials because our term will be extended,” he said.

The public consultation is the first round of such forum outside Congress, Rodriguez shared, adding his committee will conduct the same activity in the cities of Santiago, Isabela, and Iloilo in the coming days. (

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