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Charter change will get people’s support — Salceda

Salceda said Senators and other sectors need not be cynical about the proposed Charter change as it does not seek to amend the political provisions.

Francis Wakefield

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The House of Representatives is confident its members’ efforts to introduce changes in the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution with aims to attract foreign investments will succeed and earn support from the people as they are not meant to extend the term limits of elected government officials.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, claimed no politics is driving the move as only the proposed amendments to the Charter’s economic provisions will be tacked in the hearings on the proposed Charter change (Cha-cha) starting tomorrow.

The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, headed by Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., earlier said the proposed resolution contained “seven sets of proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution addressing specific economic provisions.”

Garbin said only sections 2, 3, 7, 10, and 11 under article 12 of the 1987 Constitution will be discussed in the debates on House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco’s directive as well as the addition of the phrase “unless provided by law” to allow the legislative sector to further pass laws in light of current economic situations.

“(It’s) just (that) and no politics… and only seven,” Salceda said. “Probably this will succeed because it’s limited really to one, only seven sections and all of them are economic.”

Salceda said Senators and other sectors need not be cynical about the proposed Cha-cha it does not seek to amend the political provisions.

He cited that past calls to amend the Constitution through various means — from the time of former Presidents Fidel Ramos up to Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III — failed to gain traction and fell by the wayside as they all focused on the political provisions.

Salceda said there appears to be a consensus in the House to review the economic provisions in the Constitution that prevent foreign ownership of land and businesses in the country, noting that the Philippines is one of the most restrictive economies in the world.

The Bicolano solon agreed with Velasco that the Philippines needs foreign direct investments (FDI) to offset the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the country stands to gain an additional $5-7 billion annually in FDI once the restrictions set by the Constitution on foreign ownership of businesses in the country are lifted.

 

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