House major parties back economic amendments in Constitution

LEADERS of major political blocs in the House of Representatives signed a manifesto expressing “full and unwavering” support for the approval of amendments on economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution as proposed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco in his Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 2.

RBH 2 seeks to amend Articles 2, 14 and 16 of the Constitution by adding the phrase that could open up foreign ownership of lands, public utilities, educational institutions and mass media companies.

The committee started deliberations on the measure last Wednesday.

The Department of the Interior of Local Government (DILG) likewise expressed its support for RBH 2 by turning over resolutions from several local government units (LGUs) signed by 555,610 people.

Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, DILG spokesman, said the resolutions were submitted to the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments on Wednesday.

The expressions of support come as some House lawmakers warned that RBH 2 could lead to more onerous contracts in public services.

Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the proposed amendments would be “very disadvantageous” to consumers, national minorities, and the national patrimony. 

Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said the removal of constitutional limits to foreign ownership would negatively impact small businesses, workers and farmers who are already suffering from the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Brosas said in allowing more foreign businesses to enter domestic economic sectors, micro and small businesses would further suffer and would lead to more layoffs of workers.

But for Majority Leader and Leyte First District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez for Lakas-NUCD, Deputy Speaker and Oriental Mindoro First District Rep. Salvador Leachon for PDP-Laban, Rizal First District Rep. Michael John Duavit for the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Surigao del Norte Second District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers for the Nacionalista Party, Cavite Fourth District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. for the National Unity Party, Davao City Third District Rep. Isidro Ungab for Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman Rep. Michael Romero for the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc., and Aurora Rep. Rommel Rico Angara for the independent bloc, “now is the most opportune time to resume the deliberation on the amendments to the economic provisions specified under RBH No. 2 for the primary purpose of mitigating and providing lasting solutions to the devastating economic effects brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“In doing so, we hope to fortify and safeguard the foundations of our nation from future crises and curtail the severity of other economic regressions going forward,” they added.

The leaders also assured that they “remain firm in our resolve to utilize all means possible within the period left for the 18th Congress to adopt measures and introduce reforms that will provide the maximum benefit to the Filipino people and lead the country towards a robust and sustainable recovery.” DARWIN PESCO


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