Makabayan bloc sees House efforts to revive Cha-cha
MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc has revealed that the House of Representatives would push for Charter change (Cha-cha) as a panel is set to discuss proposed constitutional amendments on Wednesday.
In a statement released on Tuesday, members of the Makabayan party brought attention to a hearing scheduled for Wednesday by the House Committee on Constitutional amendments to discuss House Bill (HB) No. 4926 by Rep. LRay Villafuerte of the 2nd District of Camarines Sur, which proposes holding a constitutional convention no later than December 2023.
“As with previous Cha-cha efforts, the House will also tackle proposals to remove the constitutional prohibition on foreign ownership of land and restrictions on foreign investment in the economy, education, and mass media,” Makabayan said.
“With barely six months into the Marcos Jr presidency, the ruling coalition is already mobilizing to perpetuate themselves in power beyond what the Constitution allows and remove the remaining constitutional safeguards intended to protect the economy and patrimony for Filipinos. Once again, we call on the people to resoundingly reject this push for Charter change,” it added.
Last September, when Villafuerte and other lawmakers filed the bill, they said HB No. 4926 would help introduce political and economic reforms to ensure that the Philippines will sustain its growth and be at par with other countries.
Villafuerte mentioned that the country has been losing possible foreign investments due to constitutional restrictions, unlike Vietnam and Thailand, where foreigners are not limited to a maximum 40 percent participation in particular local businesses.
Under the bill, the constitutional convention will be composed of elected members, one from each of the country’s 243 legislative districts. The election of those members will be held either at the same time as the next barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, which Congress intends to reschedule to December 2023, or at the same time as the midterm elections on May 12, 2025.
Because the people themselves would choose its members, a constitutional convention would be best for the country, Villafuerte said.
But Makabayan stressed that the people do not need Cha-cha, noting that Congress should focus on helping communities cope with inflation or the rising prices of goods like fuel, food, and transportation.
“This is not what the Filipino people need now. Measures on how to lower oil prices and that of basic goods and services as well as increase aid/ayuda for the poor are what’s needed, not Cha-cha to extend the terms of politicians and sell out the economy,” the bloc said.
Aside from Villafuerte’s bill, the Committee would also tackle the following possible amendments:
- HB No. 4421 – Prescribing the order of presidential succession
- Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 1 – Proposing amendments to Section 7, Article VI on Legislative Department; Section 4, Article VII on Executive Department; and Section 8, Article X on Local Government of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines
- RBH 2 – Proposing amendments to certain economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, particularly on Articles XII, XIV, and XVI
- RBH 3 – Proposing amendments to the 1987 Constitution, particularly Section 9, Article VIII
- RBH 4 – Proposing amendments to certain restrictive economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, specifically on Articles XI, XIV, and XVI thereof
- RBH 5 – Proposing amendments to certain provisions in the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, specifically on Article VII thereof
- House Joint Resolution12 – Calling for a constitutional convention to propose amendments to, or revision of, the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines