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House leaders back Cha-Cha

SEVERAL political groups, represented by their leaders, have expressed full support for Charter Change specifically in economic provisions.

The House committee on constitutional amendments has started discussing the Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 as proposed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

Different political groups also believe that 1987 Constitution, particularly the economic provisions, must be amended to help he country improve its economy especially in this pandemic and other crises.

“There is a strong and united consensus among political leaders in the House to back Speaker Velasco’s initiative towards liberalizing the economic provisions in the Constitution,” Deputy Speaker and Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera said after emerging from a hybrid meeting called by Velasco on the proposed Charter amendments.

Also physically present at the meeting were Deputy Speakers Mikee Romero (1-PACMAN Party-list), Kristine Singson Meehan (Ilocos Sur) and Wes Gatchalian (Valenzuela City); and Reps. Mark Enverga (Quezon), Kit Belmonte (Quezon City), Francisco Benitez (Negros Occidental), and Alfredo Garbin Jr. (Ako Bicol Party-list).

Those present via teleconferencing were Deputy Speakers Doy Leachon (Oriental Mindoro), Roberto Puno (Antipolo City), Munir Arbison (Sulu) and Eric Martinez (Valenzuela City, ); Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (Leyt); Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod Party-list); and Reps. Mikey Arroyo (Pampanga), Isidro Ungab (Davao City), Robert Ace Barbers (Surigao del Norte), Michael John Duavit (Rizal), Joel Garcia (Bataan), Rommel Angara (Aurora), Franz Alvarez (Palawan), Eileen Ermita-Buhain (Batangas) Sharon Garin (AAMBIS-OWA) and Stella Quimbo (Marikina City).

The lawmakers represent major political parties and blocs in the House, namely, PDP-Laban, Nacionalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party, National Unity Party, Lakas-NUCD, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Liberal Party, and Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc.

RBH 2 specifically aims to amend certain economic provisions of the almost 34-year-old Charter, particularly Articles XII (National Patrimony and Economy), XIV (Education, Science, Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports) and XVI (General Provisions).

The measure seeks to insert the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in several sections of the Constitution, which restrict foreign ownership of land, natural resources, public utilities, educational institutions, media and advertising.

It provides that by a vote of three-fourths of all its members, the Senate and the House of Representatives, voting separately, could propose amendments to the economic provisions of the basic law of the land.

Garbin stressed that the proposed amendments will be limited to the economic provisions in light of the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to the Philippine economy.