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.5M signatures back ‘surgical’ amendments to 1987 Charter

DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya on Wednesday presented to the House committee on constitutional amendments 555,610 signatures across different provinces in the country signifying grassroots support for “surgical” amendments to the 1987 Constitution, especially its economic provisions.

Malaya, who is also a part of the Inter-agency Task Force for Federalism and Constitutional Reform, gathered the signatures during a roadshow promoting education in different parts of the country of the merits of amending certain provisions in the Constitution.

The panel chaired by Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin resumed hearings on Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2, authored by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

RBH No. 2 seeks to amend restrictive provisions of the Constitution by adding the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to sections of Articles XII, XIV and XVI.

“These provisions have given rise to monopolies and oligopolies by some Filipino-owned industries at the expense of consumers,” the Ako-Bicol Party-list representative said in his opening statement.

“We should not be afraid to compete in today’s globalized environment. In any case, the removal of these restrictive provisions through constitutional amendments cannot prevent Congress, when faced in the future by changing circumstances and new challenges, from introducing restrictions for national security and other ‘national interest’ reasons once we have attained our foreign investment targets and have sufficient capital from our domestic savings,” Garbin said.

In addition to the more than 500,000 signatures, Malaya said that 1,489 municipal mayors also expressed support for amending the Charter.

Malaya presented Garbin a resolution by the League of Municipalities supporting surgical amendments to the Constitution, including the restrictive provisions as stated in RBH No. 2.

“If we just explain to them [public], malakas po at naiintindihan nila at sinusuportahan nila,” Malaya said, referring to the need to amend the 33-year-old Charter. “There is no better time than now to lift the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.” With JUN I. LEGASPI