23 JUNE 2009

A plan by Mrs. Arroyo’s allies to convene Congress into a Constituent Assembly immediately after she delivers her State of the Nation Address (SONA) next month – a plan ordered reportedly by Mrs. Arroyo herself – will hasten the economic recession, Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay said.

“The World Bank’s analysis that the Philippines will enter an outright recession this year should be reason enough for the Arroyo administration to put the brakes on Charter Change,” he said.

But Binay said reliable reports that Mrs. Arroyo herself gave instructions for the House to push for Con Ass immediately after she delivers her SONA to take advantage of the presence of the senators will trigger unrest and impact on the economy.

“The planned railroading of Con-Ass will be met with protests from all sectors – from the Senate as an institution, from the Church, civil society groups, the political opposition and the general public. The political climate will surely affect investor confidence, resulting in lost employment and livelihood opportunities for millions of Filipinos,” he said.

The World Bank said it expects the Philippines to enter into a period of outright recession this year. The lending agency said in a report that it expects the Philippine economy to shrink by 0.5 per cent, contradicting claims made by Mrs. Arroyo’s economic managers.

The opposition leader said Mrs. Arroyo is acting irresponsibly by personally pushing for the railroading of Con Ass.

“She is risking the country’s stability, endangering the livelihood and welfare of millions of poor Filipinos so she may be able to wield power beyond 2010,” he said.

“At a time when the Arroyo administration should find ways to cushion the impact of the impending recession on millions of poor Filipinos, it insists on amending the Constitution so Mrs. Arroyo may become prime minister under a parliamentary form of government. As a result, it is pushing the economy towards a recession,” he said.


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