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Monday, July 15, 2024

Charter change moves to zoom in on economic provisions—Speaker

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The House of Representatives is keen on pursuing Charter change next year, with a focus on amending economic provisions to make the Constitution “more attuned, sensitive and responsive to the times.”

“2024 will allow us again to revisit the whole issue of the Constitution because I think it’s timely that we revisit and we’d like to focus very much on the economic provisions,” Speaker Martin Romualdez said on Tuesday.

He said lawmakers would be studying possible amendments during the Christmas break.

“Perhaps there might be some initiatives, even during the break, that would prepare us for the ensuing year and perhaps that would be our legacy in the 19th Congress, which is to review and revisit the 1987 Constitution and make it more attuned, sensitive and responsive to the times,” Romualdez said.

He earlier acknowledged that while the 1987 Constitution provided three modes to amend the Constitution, it did not explicitly state whether the House and the Senate should vote jointly or separately.

“We are thinking right now of addressing the procedural gap or question as to how we amend the Constitution,” he said. “We will highly recommend that we embark on a people’s initiative…to cure this impasse, so to speak, on how we vote.”

In March, the House approved on third and final reading Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 6, which called for a constitutional convention to amend the 1987 Constitution.

The Department of Trade and Industry on Monday said it will fully support the proposal in Congress to amend the Constitution to ease restrictions on economic sectors that are still limiting foreign participation.

“Such a move will make our country more competitive in attracting foreign investments needed for creating high-quality jobs for our people,” said Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual.

By easing restrictions on foreign ownership, the Philippines can become a more attractive destination for international investors. This can lead to an influx of capital, which can be used to invest in infrastructure, technology, and job creation, the DTI noted in a statement.

Romualdez, in his message during the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) Day in September, reiterated the necessity to amend the outdated and restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

“Our Constitution, as noble and well-intentioned as it is, has elements that are no longer adaptive to our needs,” he said.

“Amending these provisions isn’t just a matter of law—it’s about transforming the opportunities available to every Filipino. It’s about catalyzing a new era of prosperity, characterized by more robust economic growth, technological advancement, job creation, and ultimately, a better quality of life for each and every citizen,” Romualdez added.

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