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Cha-Cha not a waste of public money — solon

AMENDING the Constitution is not a waste of money.

This is how chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments and Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin defended the panel’s decision to resume the discussion of Charter Change starting January 13.

In a statement, Garbin responded to Vice President Leni Robredo’s camp saying the Filipinos will benefit if some of the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution will be amended.

“Vice President Leni Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez is wrong in saying that our efforts at amending economic provisions in our Constitution is a waste of our people’s time and money,” Garbin said.

According to Garbin, the devastating impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on the local economy has brought to light the need to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the 33-year-old Constitution.

On January 13, the committee will tackle Resolution of Both Houses No.2 which was filed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

Improving the economic provisions, Garbin said, will enable the country recover from the havoc brought about by the public health crisis.

“And if we want to better position the Philippines, Charter change must happen now because our economy is still a long way from full recovery,” Garbin added.

Meanhile, Garbin clarified that the committee will treat the proposed measure to amend the “stifling” economic provisions just like any other bill that is taken up in the plenary: with fairness and transparency.

“Just like other pieces of legislation passed within the chamber of Congress, it will go through the legislative process and will be voted upon nominally by each member of the House of Representatives,” he stressed.

The Velasco resolution only proposes amendments to the economic provisions and does not deal with political issues like the term extension of the incumbent officials including the president.

Under Velasco’s proposal, the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” shall be added in several sections of Article XII (National Patrimony and Economy), Article XIV (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports), and Article XVI (General Provisions).

This includes provisions on limiting the ownership and management of mass media and educational institutions to citizens of the Philippines.