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Chacha crucial for Phl economic recovery



House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Sunday underscored the need to amend the Constitution, specifically the restrictive economic provisions which would pave the way for economic recovery.

Velasco said amending economic provisions related to foreign investments is crucial if the country would want to ensure economic improvement especially now that it is gravely affected by the pandemic.

Foreign investments, he believed, would support domestic jobs and could create physical knowledge capital in various industries.

“The need to attract foreign capital is critical to support our economy’s recovery from COVID-19,” he said.

He explained that the resolution he filed last year would liberalize the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution that “prevent us from becoming fully competitive with our Asian neighbors.”

Under the resolution, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments is proposed to add the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to 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 addition of this phrase will allow Congress to enact laws to free up the economy to foreign investors, or maintain the status quo,” he noted.

Velasco also proposed to amend Articles 12, 14 and 16 to lift the 40-percent foreign ownership restrictions of lands, public utilities, educational institutions and mass media corporations.

The Marinduque congressman assured that debates on Cha-cha would be “transparent and fair”.  He expected to finish it before the end of 2021 and will be presented to the public “alongside the election of new leaders in the 2022 national elections.”

“As global economies slowly start to reopen, we cannot allow the Philippines to lag behind in terms of investments and opportunities. We need to seize the momentum if we are to fully recover from the economic devastation of COVID-19,” he stressed.

In a radio interview, Alfredo Garbin Jr., the chair of the House panel to lead Cha-Cha debates, reiterated that Velasco’s directive was limited to amending economic provisions and nothing else.

“No amendment for term extension or for change of government,” he underscored.