House Cha-cha: Closer to goal after 6 hearings

House Cha-cha: Closer to goal after 6 hearings

/ 05:36 AM March 07, 2024

PHOTO: Neptali Gonzales II  STORY: House Cha-cha: Closer to goal after 6 hearings

Rep. Neptali Gonzales II (File photo from the House of Representatives)

The House of Representatives, convening as a Committee of the Whole, completed a preliminary but already exhaustive step in the push for Charter change (Cha-cha) on its side of Congress, with the adoption of Resolution of Both Houses No. 7 (RBH 7) on Wednesday.

The step was akin to the approval of a committee report. The next stage — the approval on the second reading — is expected Wednesday next week at the earliest, or before the Holy Week break, House leaders said.


To get to this point, the chamber had conducted six hearings since Feb. 19, inviting various resource persons, mainly legal experts, to weigh in regarding proposals to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.


RBH 7 seeks to lift the restrictions on foreign ownership in public utilities, educational institutions, and advertising.

Should be faster now

In a press conference on Wednesday, Deputy Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said that “based on the timeline shared with me, [March] 11, 12, 13 will be the second reading.”

“I think, it would be approved on second reading by Wednesday,” Gonzales, who represents Mandaluyong, said.

This next stage “will be faster as it will be limited to members’ interpellations” compared to the earlier hearings that involved exchanges with resource persons.

“But when we go on second reading, only the sponsor will have to answer,” said Gonzales, who serves as majority leader for the committee.

Also at the press briefing, Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman said the progress made by the House on RBH 7 was “also a reminder to our colleagues in the Senate that we would have to work with a sense of urgency.”


“If the ultimate goal is basically to approve (the Senate’s) RBH 6, it should be approved at the time when we do not have to hold a plebiscite alongside the national elections,” Roman added.

‘Unless otherwise…’

RBH 7 is a virtual replica of the Senate’s RBH 6, which basically seeks to insert the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in the economic provisions to give them the crucial flexibility that would allow 100 percent foreign ownership in the three industries covered by the resolution.

READ: House to hold 3 hearings on Cha-cha per week

The resolution’s adoption by the House followed a series of hearings in which the pros and cons of the current 40-percent limit on foreign ownership were discussed.

Administration lawmakers argued that keeping this cap would pose a significant barrier to substantial increases in foreign direct investment in the country, thus limiting economic growth potentials.

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Minority lawmakers led by Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, however, argued that relaxing the provisions would effectively cede to foreign interests a significant measure of control over the economy.

TAGS: charter change, House of Representatives, Resolution of Both Houses No. 7

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