PCCI pitches economic ‘cha-cha’ among senators
Members of the House and Senate have been exchanging barbs over proposals to tweak the Constitution’s economic provisions in hopes of enticing foreign direct investment in the country
Photo courtesy of PCCI
Officials and members of the Philippine Chambers of Commerce and Industry joined the House of Representatives in clamoring for the Senate to make Charter change happen and finally lift “restrictive” economic provisions.
PCCI president George Barcelon confirmed to the Daily Tribune that they would write an invitation letter to a few senators for an assembly to convince them of the need for economic provisions on the 36-year-old Constitution.
“We have certain concerns about how the narrative of this must be made very well. Even some local constituents are wary of whether this would open a Pandora’s box. But again, we stress that if it is only an economic provision, then it’s worth taking a look,” he said.
The Senate, dominated by cha-cha opponents, has steadfastly maintained that there is no current need for constitutional reform and has echoed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s assertion that there are already enough laws to draw foreign investment without tinkering with the Constitution.
Members of the House and Senate have been exchanging barbs over proposals to tweak the Constitution’s economic provisions in hopes of enticing foreign direct investment in the country.
It was Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairperson of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, who revealed that the House mustered support from the country’s group of business owners.
Rodriguez persuaded the PCCI after he presented the rationale of the initiative and the planned amendments to the Charter’s “restrictive” economic provisions during the meeting held at PCCI’s request.
He won the backing of the PCCI by emphasizing that the House initiative for Constitutional reform centers only on the economic provisions.
Barcelon pointed out that the constitutional constraints do not make the Philippines attractive to other countries.
“Other countries are getting more FDI. So that being the case, we are supportive of the review of the Constitution, but again I stress economic provisions only,” said the PCCI’s honcho.
The 60-40 rule on Filipino-foreign ownership of critical industries, he averred, should be relaxed.
Barcelon said that the Senate, maybe because of other priorities such as committee hearings, had yet to take cha-cha proposal up. However, he likewise stressed that the upper chamber should shake a leg and consider the House’s initiative.
Several business organizations, such as Makati Business Club and Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, had gotten cold feet about tweaking the strict economic provisions of the Constitution, saying it would require a costly constitutional convention or con-con to do so.
Recall that the clash between the House and the Senate over their divergent stances on whether or not the country needs Constitutional reform remains unsettled as senators have been headstrong on their standpoint that the House’s initiative for con-con would be costly and time-consuming.
Just before Congress went on Lenten recess, the House passed Resolution of Both Houses 6 and House Bill 7352, which both call for a con-con, with a supermajority vote.
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