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House resumes deliberations on economic Cha-cha
House constitutional amendments committee chair Alfredo Garbin Jr. said the chamber is expected to pass on second reading the proposed constitutional amendments in Resolution of Both House No. 2 next week.
STAR/File

House resumes deliberations on economic Cha-cha

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - May 19, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House plenary resumed yesterday deliberations on proposed amendments to restrictive economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution and set them for approval possibly next week.

House constitutional amendments committee chair Alfredo Garbin Jr. said the chamber is expected to pass on second reading the proposed constitutional amendments in Resolution of Both House No. 2 (RBH2) next week.

“We still have seven interpellators and they will be given enough time. Our target for approval of RBH2 on second reading is next week, so that we will have enough time to have the voting and final reading before the adjournment on June 5,” he told House reporters in an interview via Zoom.

On the lineup are Reps. Sarah Elago, Christopher Belmonte, Joseph Paduano and Lorenz Defensor. Those who will avail of the second round are Reps. Edcel Lagman and Carlos Zarate.

The AKO Bicol party-list congressman believes that while there is still little talk with the Senate on the matter, the senators would also approve the measure once they see the final version approved in the Lower House.

“As we have been repeatedly saying, we think that the senators are just waiting for our finished product here in the House of Representatives because they want to make sure that the same is only confined to the economic provisions of the Constitution before they act on it,” he explained.

Garbin assured skeptics that RBH2 would only cover economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

“We basically limited it to the adopted resolution by the committee, which covers Articles 12, 14 and 16 of the Constitution, excluding the ownership of lands… So we will finish it here and send it to the Senate, then it will be up to them,” he stressed.

Garbin’s panel adopted RBH2 last February via a vote of 64-3. The plenary had started the debate on the proposed amendments before Congress went on a two-month recess.

The measure seeks to allow Congress to pass laws that would open the economy to more foreign investments while recovering from recession caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

RBH2 specifically proposed amendments to economic provisions of the Constitution under Articles XII (National Patrimony and Economy), XIV (Education, Science and Technology) and XVI (General Provisions) by adding the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law.”

This would then allow Congress to pass laws allowing foreign ownership of educational institutions, public utilities and mass media companies and lift the 40-percent foreign ownership restriction on corporations.

The measure prescribes a constituent assembly to propose amendments to the Constitution, which requires a vote of three-fourths of all the members of Congress, each house voting separately.

HOUSE PLENARY
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