House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco sees the discussion on the proposed amendments on the “restrictive” economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution to be finished this May.
“I have to talk to (House committee on constitutional amendments) Chair Pido Garbin first but actually I see finishing the Charter Change (Cha-cha) before the end of May before we take a break, finish in the House,” Velasco told reporters in an ambush interview on Monday.
He added that he believes the talks on the economic Cha-cha are not “dead in the water” despite the Senate’s reservation on its passing.
“Not really dead in the water but we’re just pushing for Charter change mainly because of the economic provisions. I think the fear of our kababayans is when we pursue Charter Change, this will give some political leaders and elected officials the chance to insert things that will give them advantages,” he said.
“But at the end of the day po, what we are looking at is to change the Constitution and open the country to foreign investors,” he added.
The lower Chamber is pushing Cha-cha through Resolution of Both Houses 2 (RBH 2), which will insert the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to constitutional provisions saying only Filipino citizens can control, own, and/or lease alienable lands of public domain, natural resources, public utilities, educational institutions, mass media companies and advertising companies in the Philippines.
In turn, this will grant the government “enough flexibility” to consider current conditions “prevailing at different stages our road to economic development before formulating policies that should be time-bound.”
Despite the optimistic view on its completion, Velasco said he is not rushing since the two chambers have at least a year to discuss the proposed amendments.
He added that for now, he is open to answer the concerns of his colleagues in the House about RBH 2.
“There’s no need to rush because we still have a year to do it. We’ll just try to hear out all the members who have questions regarding the Cha-cha so everyone will be given the chance to ask,” he said.