House leader asks senators to keep an open mind on ‘economic Cha-cha’ | Inquirer News

House leader asks senators to keep an open mind on ‘economic Cha-cha’

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 12:13 PM January 11, 2021

House to revive Cha-cha talks; targets ‘restrictive’ economic provisions

Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. (Photo from the Facebook account of Ako Bicol)

MANILA, Philippines — House committee on constitutional amendments chairperson Alfredo Garbin Jr. has urged senators to keep an open mind on the lower chamber’s proposed amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, saying that such changes are “long overdue.”

Garbin claimed that support and clamor for amending “restrictive” economic provisions of the Constitution is present.


“It’s long overdue. The support and the clamor is there. The introduction of the phrase ‘unless otherwise provided by law’ in those restrictive provisions, as proposed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, will give Congress the flexibility and leeway to alter the restrictions when the economic situation requires it,” he said in a statement on Monday.


He added that the slight change in the Charter’s language “will improve the investment climate and generate much needed investments and jobs to counteract the economic contraction caused by the pandemic.”

Amending the economic provisions in the Constitution can succeed, Garbin said, if senators will keep an open mind and “agree to consider relevant proposals” from the lower chamber and from their colleagues.

He sought to allay fears expressed by some senators that if they agree to amend economic provisions, it might open the Charter to other amendments that could lead to extending the term of office of incumbent elective officials and lifting of the term limits.

“We are not proposing to open the basic law of the land to revisions. We want to limit ourselves to provisions relating to the economy and national patrimony. We will not touch the political sections of the Charter,” he said.

Velasco has given the commitment that the House would confine itself to amending economic provisions.

“The Speaker’s assurance will serve as our word of honor. In compliance with the Speaker’s instruction, my committee will not entertain any political amendment proposal,” he said.


He said the insertion of the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in the economic provisions “means that the present limitations will remain, but Congress would be empowered to relax or lift them in the future, depending on the country’s economic situation, to draw more foreign investments that will generate jobs and income for our people.”

“Because of the extensive damage the health crisis that is still raging has caused on our economy, we will need foreign funds to recover from the pandemic in the next two to three years,” Garbin said.

He added that economists are projecting that due to the deep economic contraction that is has suffered, the country would begin to achieve positive growth only in 2022.

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“That is when we hope we already have the constitutional means in place to attract more foreign funds into the country,” Garbin said.

TAGS: appeal, Cha-cha, Constitution, economic Cha-cha, Garbin, senators

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