House leaders support amendment for Constitution’s economic provisions

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The move to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution is gaining ground at the House of Representatives.

This developed as leaders of political parties and blocs at the lower chamber have signed a manifesto of support to Speaker Lord Allan Velasco’s proposal to amend the restrictive economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution.

In the manifesto released to the media on Thursday, the political leaders said there is a “unified consensus” that the House will deliberate only on the economic provisions in the charter, as specified in Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2 filed by Velasco.

They said the proposed constitutional amendments would mitigate and provide lasting solutions to the devastating economic effects brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

“In doing so, we hope to fortify and safeguard the foundations of our nation from future crises and curtail the severity of other economic regressions going forward,” they said.

The signatories include House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Deputy Speaker Salvador Leachon, Rizal Rep. Michael John Duavit for the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers for the Nacionalista Party, Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. for the National Unity Party, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab for Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero for the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc., and Aurora Rep. Rommel Rico Angara for the independent bloc.

They said the chamber will remain consistent with its position that when Congress proposes amendments to the 34-year-old Constitution, both Houses shall “vote separately..

The proposed amendments will be submitted to the people for ratification simultaneously with the May 2022 national elections, they added.

“The House of Representatives remain(s) firm in our resolve to utilize all means possible within the period left for the 18th Congress to adopt measures and introduce reforms that will provide the maximum benefit to the Filipino people and lead the country towards a robust and sustainable recovery,” they said.

The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments resumed its hearing on Wednesday to tackle Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2, which seeks to amend restrictive provisions of the Constitution by adding the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to sections of Articles XII, XIV and XVI.

These constitutional provisions to be amended restrict foreign ownership of land, natural resources, public utilities, educational institutions, media and advertising.

Velasco said these “restrictive” economic provisions, which hamper the flow of foreign capital investments, must be lifted to support the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

He said foreign investments play a crucial role in the economy by supporting domestic jobs and the creation of physical and knowledge capital across a range of industries.

It provides that by a vote of three-fourths of all its members, the Senate and the House voting separately could propose amendments to the economic provisions of the basic law of the land. CURRENTPH

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