Freedom Fund may level field —Con-Com
To empower the smaller, lesser-known political parties in the political race, the consultative committee tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to review the 1987 Constitution wants to create a Democracy Fund to serve as a depository of campaign contributions to level the political playing field.
Con-Com Senior Technical Assistant and spokesman Ding Generoso said this proposal will fall under the draft Federal Constitution’s proposed new section under the new article on Suffrage, Political Rights and Political Parties (Article V).
This provision, formulated by Con-Com member Julio Teehankee, has been approved in the Con-Com sub-committee on Political Reforms and Leveling the Political Field and will be voted on in the final en banc session, Generoso said.
He made his statement even as Malacañang’s experts’ group, which is putting the finishing touches on a new federal Constitution, faces the challenge of generating broad public support for its proposed political and structural reforms.
The consultative committee is set to finish drafting the new Constitution over the weekend, Generoso said. He said it will begin on Monday a two-month regional consultation to further fine-tune its proposal.
Part of the challenge is explaining the basic principles of federalism considering that, based on one survey, seven out of 10 Filipinos barely understand this system of government.
Generoso said the Campaign Finance Reform is not only meant to encourage smaller political parties, but also to regulate political contributions and campaign financing, make campaign funding available to all parties and candidates and ensure transparency.
‘‘We have a huge imbalance. There are many parties and candidates who are not as famous and as rich but better than those who are famous but who have no chance of winning because they don’t have enough funds,” Generoso told reporters in Pasay City on Thursday.
“They can’t afford tarpaulins, they can’t afford to pay for radio commercials. We need to remedy that situation so that we can say that we have leveled the political field to give them a fighting chance against the richer candidates and those from the political dynasties.”
Generoso said the Democracy Fund will be a state-managed common fund to be apportioned among the political parties and candidates for president. Independent candidates may also tap into the fund.
It will also ensure that women candidates also get their fair share to allow more of them to participate in the political affairs of the nation.
The Democracy Fund will be administered by the Commission on Elections and audited by the Commission on Audit.