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House on Charter Change mode again

TO allay fears of term extension for incumbent officials, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco instructed the House committee on Constitutional amendments to focus only on economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. said Speaker Velasco gave a clear and specific instruction that the constitutional amendments will deal only with the restrictive economic provisions of the 33-year-old Charter and should not discuss anything about term limits or term extension.

The committee is set to convene on January 13 to discuss the House Resolution filed by Speaker Velasco which calls for amendments to specific provisions concerning the country’s economic status.

“Klaro po ang direktiba ng ating Speaker that we need to confine our discussion doon sa economic provisions. At the end of the day, ang taong bayan will have the power of ratification. They will be the one to ratify the amendments in a plebiscite,” Garbin said in an interview.

Under Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 2 authored by Speaker Velasco, the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” will be added to the restrictions set by the Constitution on ownership of franchises and public utilities.

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“By inserting the phrase ‘unless otherwise provided by law’, mabibigyan ang Kongreso ng leeway so that we can enact a responsive legislation in order to meet the economic conditions of the time,” Garbin added.

Garbin also stressed that the pandemic has made the matter of amending the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution urgent, as domestic markets struggled to boost the economy during the lockdown period in 2020.

“Bago pa ho magka-pandemya, ito ho’y napag-uusapan na sa committee during the Chairmanship of the Honorable Rufus Rodriguez. The amendments on the economic provisions is long overdue. Since the 13th Congress, nandiyan na ho yung panukala na buksan at ma-relax ito,” Garbin pointed out.

Garbin’s panel will start deliberations before the resumption of the 18th Congress on January 18.

The committee hopes to finish deliberations before Christmas of 2021, and to schedule the plebiscite in time for the 2022 National Elections, Garbin said.


Publication Source :    People's Journal