House leaders back move to amend economic provisions of Charter
MANILA, Philippines — Leaders of political groups and power blocs in the House of Representatives have rallied behind Speaker Lord Allan Velasco’s move to amend the 1987 Constitution, particularly its “restrictive” economic provisions.
Velasco met with party leaders and other political leaders on Tuesday, a day before the House resumed the debates on his Charter change proposal.
“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 Bernadette Herrera said after the meeting.
The lawmakers present in the meeting represent major political parties and blocs in the House, namely, PDP-Laban, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party, National Unity Party, Lakas-NUCD, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Liberal Party, and Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc.
Velasco, through Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, sought to amend Sections 2, 3, 7, 10 and 11 of Article XII (National Patrimony and Economy), Section 4 of Article XIV (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports) and Section 11 of Article XVI (General Provisions).
The measure seeks to add the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to several sections of the Constitution restricting foreign ownership of land, natural resources, public utilities, educational institutions, media and advertising.
House committee on constitutional amendments chairperson Alfredo Garbin Jr. maintained that discussions on Charter change would only be limited to economic provisions regarding the damaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic to the Philippine economy.
The slight change in the Constitution’s language, he said, would help “improve the investment climate and generate much-needed investments and jobs to offset the devastating economic impact of the pandemic.”
Physically present during the meeting were Deputy Speakers Mikee Romero (1-Pacman Party-list), Kristine Singson Meehan (Ilocos Sur, 2nd District) and Wes Gatchalian (Valenzuela City, 1st District); and Reps. Mark Enverga (Quezon, 1st District), Kit Belmonte (Quezon City, 6th District), Francisco Benitez (Negros Occidental, 3rd District), and Alfredo Garbin Jr. (Ako Bicol Party-list).
Those present via teleconferencing were Deputy Speakers Doy Leachon (Oriental Mindoro, 1st District), Roberto Puno (Antipolo City, 1st District), Munir Arbison (Sulu, 2nd District) and Eric Martinez (Valenzuela City, 2nd District); Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (Leyte, 1st District); Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod Party-list); and Reps. Mikey Arroyo (Pampanga, 2nd District), Isidro Ungab (Davao City, 3rd District), Robert Ace Barbers (Surigao del Norte, 2nd District), Michael John Duavit (Rizal, 1st District), Joet Garcia (Bataan, 2nd District), Rommel Angara (Aurora), Franz Alvarez (Palawan, 1st District), Eileen Ermita-Buhain (Batangas, 1st District), Sharon Garin (Aambis-OWA) and Stella Quimbo (Marikina City, 2nd District). [ac]
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