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House eyes economic Cha-cha approval before Holy Week break

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The House Committee of the Whole will start discussions on the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 7 next week and may finish after three hearings or before Congress goes on Holy Week break next month.

Lanao del Norte Rep. Khalid Dimaporo said it may only take three hearings to pass the measure.

“If it will be taken up via committee of the whole, I believe that will be fast, and you will hear only those who have issues. And if those issues are valid, then the majority will relay their concerns to our leadership,” Dimaporo said.

“But generally I’m sure that the House will resolve issues quite fast,” he added.

RBH No. 7. is almost an exact reproduction of RBH No. 6 filed before the Senate.

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The proposed House and Senate changes are on the grant of legislative franchises to public utilities in Article 12, basic education in Article 14, and advertising in Article 16.

The suggested principal amendments are the insertion of the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law,” which would empower Congress to lift or relax present economic restrictions in the nation’s basic law, and the addition of the qualifier “basic” in Article 16.

RBH No. 7 and RBH No. 6 restate the provision of the Constitution that Congress may propose amendments “upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members.”

Senator Bong Revilla, for his part, welcomed the filing of RBH No. 7.

“We are also grateful to our counterparts in the House for filing RBH 7 and immediately scheduling it for hearing. This proposal mirrors RBH 6 in the Senate. It will usher in an expeditious and efficient consideration and resolution of issues and concerns on the proposed amendments,” he said.

Dimaporo also urged senators to heed the President’s call Charter change to amend restrictive economic provisions.

He expressed belief the President’s statement was “born out offrustration” –a sentiment which he said by House members over the prolonged delay in pursuing Charter amendments.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri thanked Mr. Marcos for reiterating his trust in the Senate to take the lead in reviewing restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution.

Zubiri also vowed to ensure the passage of the amendments. He said this was well underway with the hearings for RBH No. 6.

“Rest assured that we are determined to come out with the best possible amendments that will help relax the economic restrictions of the Constitution,” he said.

“We also remain resolute in protecting the rest of the Constitution,” Zubiri added.

Senator JV Ejercito urged Mr. Marcos to make a categorical statement that Congress leaders must honor what was agreed upon in his presence during a Palace meeting on Jan. 5.

Ejercito said the continuing effort to push for a people’s initiative goes against the consensus reached last month.

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