House political leaders back
economic amendments in Charter
Leaders from various political parties and power blocs in the House of Representatives met on Tuesday to back Speaker Lord Allan Velasco’s resolution proposing amendments to the restrictive economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution.
The hybrid meeting called by Velasco took place a day before the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments would conduct its hearing on Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 (RBH 2).
“There is a strong and united consensus among political leaders in the House to back Speaker Velasco’s initiative towards liberalizing the economic provisions in the Constitution,” Deputy Speaker and Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera said.
Physically present at the meeting were Deputy Speakers Mikee Romero, Kristine Singson Meehan and Wes Gatchalian; and Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte, Negros Occidental Rep. Francisco Benitez, and Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr.
Those present via teleconferencing were Deputy Speakers Doy Leachon, Roberto Puno, Munir Arbison, and Eric Martinez; Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez; Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano; and Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, Rizal Rep. Michael John Duavit, Bataan Rep. Joet Garcia, Aurora Rep. Rommel Angara, Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez, Batangas Rep. Eileen Ermita-Buhain, AAMBIS-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin, and Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo.
The lawmakers represent major political parties and blocs in the House –PDP-Laban, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party, National Unity Party, Lakas-NUCD, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Liberal Party, and Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc.
RBH 2 aims to amend certain economic provisions of the Charter, particularly Articles XII (National Patrimony and Economy), XIV (Education, Science, Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports) and XVI (General Provisions).
The measure seeks to insert the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to several sections of the Constitution, which restrict foreign ownership of land, natural resources, public utilities, educational institutions, media and advertising.
It provides that by a vote of three-fourths of all its members, the Senate and the House of Representatives voting separately could propose amendments to the economic provisions of the basic law of the land.
Garbin, who chairs the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, assured that the proposed amendments will be limited to the economic provisions in light of the damaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic to the Philippine economy. He said the slight change in the Constitution’s language will help “improve the investment climate and generate much-needed investments and jobs to offset the devastating economic impact of the pandemic.”