Address more vital issues first, Makati Business Club tell lawmakersBy Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The MBC said in a statement Thursday that it considered Charter change (Cha-cha) that would allow greater foreign ownership in business and land in the country to be “critical” in sustaining the increase in investments and employment.
However, it said, the “right time” for amendments to the Constitution’s economic provisions would be just after the 2013 elections.
“We believe that the Senate and the House of Representatives have matters of greater urgency that they need to address with higher priority between now and the 2013 elections,” the business group said.
The 2013 General Appropriations Act, pending in the House, was one such urgent matter, MBC said.
Another is the bill seeking to restructure the excise tax (also known as sin tax) on alcohol and tobacco products, the group said. The measure, House Bill No. 5727, had been approved on third reading. A counterpart bill is in a Senate committee.
The MBC also pointed to other measures that should take precedence over moves to amend the Constitution:
- The amendments to the Mining Act of 1995 to conform to the Executive Order on mining is pending in the respective House and Senate Committees.
- The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development Act (House Bill No. 4244), pending on second reading. Also being considered is the Reproductive Health Act (Senate Bill No. 2865).
- The Freedom of Information bill is pending in the House Committee and its counterpart, People’s Ownership of Government Information or POGI Act (Senate Bill No. 3208) is pending on second reading.
- A measure further strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Law (House Bill No. 4275) was approved on third reading while the equivalent Senate Bill No. 3123 is pending second reading.
- The Philippine Fair Competition Act (House Bill No. 4835), which is pending on second reading, and the Competition Act (Senate Bill No. 3098), which is pending on second reading.
- The Investments and Incentives Code (House Bill No. 4935) was approved on third reading) and a similar measure is pending in a Senate committee.
- The bill titled Strengthening the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program, House Bill No. 5714, had been approved on third reading. The Whistleblower Protection Act (Senate Bill No. 2860) is scheduled for a second reading.