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Zubiri raises anew the case for economic Cha-Cha in fueling PH growth

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Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Monday said he wants to avoid a scenario, where the Philippines would be viewed as a tailender in terms of development in Southeast Asia, if government officials do not move to loosen up the economic restrictions of the present Constitution.

Zubiri offered this perspective as the Senate continues to deliberate on the proposed amendments to the present Charter under Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6, which he co-authored.

RBH No. 6 aims to revise the three economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution to open up public utilities, tertiary education, and the advertising sectors to 100 percent foreign ownership.

Zubiri said many other countries have amended their own constitutions, which paved the way for their development.

“We just want the same for the country, especially since we have the potential to be a competitive investment haven here in Southeast Asia, given the English-language skills of our people,” the Senate leader pointed out.

Zubiri emphasized there will be infusion of foreign investments in the areas targeted by the amendments.

The Senate subcommittee on Constitutional amendments and Revision of Codes chaired by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara—principal author of RBH No. 6—will conduct a public hearing on Charter Change (Cha-Cha) in Cebu City and Cagayan De Oro on May 23 and May 24, respectively.

Last Friday, the committee conducted a public hearing in Baguio City after four hearings in the Senate.

Zubiri said the public hearings are part of efforts of the Senate to get the pulse of the people regarding amendments to the three economic provisions of the Constitution.

The Senate subcommittee, he said, has brought its public hearings closer to the people.

“It is important to bring the matter of Constitutional amendments to the public because, in the end, it is not the lawmakers who will decide but the public,” Zubiri said, referring to a plebiscite that will ratify economic amendments to the Constitution if and when they are passed.

He also acknowledged the recent Pulse Asia survey that shows 88 percent of Filipinos are opposed to Constitutional amendments at the moment.

“This is why we are bringing these discussions across the country, closer to our stakeholders,” Zubiri said. 


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