Use facts, not opinions to back Cha-cha, Escudero tells resource persons
MANILA, Philippines — Present facts rather than opinions in arguing for support of Charter change, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero reminded resource persons attending the hearings on the issue.
On Feb. 5, a Senate subcommittee led by Sen. Sonny Angara deliberated on the Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 (RBH6), which seeks to amend three economic provisions in the Constitution, particularly on public utilities, education, and advertising.
But on Sunday, Escudero lamented the lack of a data-driven approach among Cha-cha supporters who spoke during the session.
“I hope that our invited resource persons will not only express opinions. I hope whatever they say is based on solid research and solid data because each of us has our own opinion on whether those amendments are necessary or not. So that we can at least compare between data and not opinions alone,” Escudero said, speaking partly, in Filipino in a radio interview.
“‘He who alleges must prove the same. The one who claims that we need to do something, he should be the one to prove that we really need to do it,” he added.
During the Senate deliberation, resource persons Orion Dumdum, former Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, and Former National and Economic Development Authority Director General Gerardo Sicat voiced support for Cha-cha.
Escudero noted that among them, Dumdum and Teves only talked about their opinions and did not cite actual studies for their claims.
Dumdum, an overseas Filipino worker based in Singapore, pushed for removing all provisions in the Constitution that prohibit foreign direct investments.
Teves also said that changing the “restrictive” economic provisions in the Constitution would attract more foreign investors into the country.
In the same Sunday radio interview, Escudero questioned the rationale behind amending these three provisions, noting the lack of data to back the proposal.
“Well, I would like to listen because I do not know where those three came from. I know that was a product of a meeting between Senate President [Juan Miguel] Zubiri and Speaker [Ferdinand Martin] Romualdez,” he said.
“I don’t know if there are studies about those. Are there data on that?”
Zubiri filed RBH6 in January, saying that it was the result of his separate meetings with Romualdez and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
No benefit to advertising, education
According to Escudero, the country will not benefit much from opening up the advertising and education sectors to 100 percent foreign ownership. They are fields that are not large enough to create enough jobs for Filipinos if invested in by foreigners.
“I haven’t seen any study that says that, if we open up the advertising industry, our economy will grow, and foreign investors will flock to our country if those three areas are opened up,” Escudero said in Filipino.
“Where did this come from? Who suggested this? Do we have data to support this?”
RBH 6 was authored by Zubiri, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, and Sen. Sonny Angara.
On Thursday, Marcos voiced support for Charter change but insisted on amending “economic provisions” alone.
The Senate subcommittee on RBH6 is set to continue its deliberation on the resolution on Monday.