Davao businessmen oppose constituent assembly

Cariaga said most of the members favor a constitutional convention.

The stand is based on a survey they conducted using questionnaires and nominal voting during the chamber's general assembly on December 2. But he stressed that they have not yet completed the survey.

He said 99 percent of the first 100 who returned the survey forms favored "ConCon" over "ConAss.”  The Chamber has 386 members of whom 250 are qualified voters.

Cariaga said members of the chamber favoring ConCon said lawmakers can tailor the amendments to the constitution if it was done through constituent assembly.

Cariaga told reporters earlier they (chamber) are for changes in the constitution, but not the proposed method through which changes would be made.

The business community favors changes in the constitution especially for economic reasons, including allowing foreign ownership of lands in the country.

The Supreme Court junked with finality on Nov. 28, the move to amend the Constitution through peoples' initiative. Following the high court's decision, administration lawmakers expressed intention to convene both houses of Congress to a constituent assembly before the Christmas break.

A pro-administration bloc in the House of Representatives also recommended the postponement of the midterm elections in May to November for an election of an interim parliament.

Cariaga said 100 percent of those who responded to the survey said elections should be held in May as scheduled. But Cariaga expressed doubts elections would be held, citing the dangled term extension of  local officials up to 2010. 

The Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. was voted as the most outstanding chamber of commerce in the country in 1997, 2003, and 2005. It was also awarded as the best local chamber in Asia Pacific in 2005.

Cariaga said if it had not disaffiliated from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in October, it could have received a hall of fame award as the country's most outstanding chamber.