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Friday, May 31, 2024

‘Economic Cha-cha efforts on track’

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Zubiri, Romualdez vow to muster needed votes

PRAGUE—Both leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives assured the public that efforts to amend restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution are on track.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, who earlier said he will not force his colleagues to vote for amending the Charter as it might cost him his position, said the Upper House needs “a bit more time” to get it done.

“We’re convincing our colleagues to make sure we have the three-fourths vote on this measure. It’s ongoing. We’re on track,” said Zubiri, who joined the Philippine delegation in Prague Thursday.

‘’We have to make sure to convince our colleagues on this issue,that’s why we need a bit more time but it’s being done. Nothing is stalled,” he added.

For his part, Speaker Martin Romualdez said the House has followed the lead of the Senate in crafting the amendments.

The House last week approved on second reading Resolution of Both Houses No. 7 and is set to finalize the approval on third reading this week before the Lenten break.

RBH No. 7 is identical to the Senate’s RBH No. 6 except for the manner of voting, with the former pushing for a separate vote of both chambers of Congress in approving the amendments.

The proposed House and Senate changes were on the grant of legislative franchises to and ownership of public utilities in Article 12, and ownership of basic educational facilities in Article 14, and advertising firms in Article 16.

A congressional leader welcomed the pronouncement of both leaders of Congress.

Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco said adopting the economic amendments will create about two million jobs and will sustain efforts of the Marcos administration to decrease the unemployment rate.

“Removing economic restrictions to foreign investment in our Constitution is the lowest hanging fruit especially for an emerging economy like ours,” Haresco said.

Haresco cited the 2020 study of the UP Research and Extension Services Foundation-Regulatory Reform Support Program for National Development which showed that opening up the economy to foreign investors by amending restrictive economic provisions could generate 1.6 million jobs and could even double foreign direct investments.

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