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Deliberations on economic Cha-cha hoped to start in Feb.

THE chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments on Wednesday said he hopes to begin on the first week of February the plenary deliberations on the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2, which seeks to liberalize the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Appearing at the Ugnayan sa Batasan media forum, Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo “Pido” Garbin Jr. said his committee aims to come up with a report on RBH No. 2 after “one or two” more hearings. He said the next hearing is scheduled on January 26.

Garbin said Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, who filed RBH No. 2 in July 2019, has the full support in pushing for what he referred to as a “meaningful constitutional reform.”

Last week, members of the supermajority coalition in the House, led by Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, signed a manifesto of support for the approval of RBH No. 2, vowing to deliberate only on the economic provisions of the Constitution.

The manifesto also stated that the House of Representatives and the Senate shall vote separately on any amendment to be made on the Constitution.

Asked on the timing of the said proposal and whether it can be passed by the House, Garbin said there is a need to prepare the economy and the needed policy to send a positive signal to the international business community.

“We want to send the signal to the business community that we are now open and that the restrictive policy will be lifted,” he said.

He added: “We want to better our position or business climate, we want to be proactive in promoting our investment. Para hindi tayo mapag-iwanan, dahil napag-iiwanan na tayo.”

Noting the urgency of opening up the economy, Garbin cited empirical data presented by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OEDC) and World Bank that the Philippines is on top of one of the most restrictive economies in the world.

The OECD data, he said, further states that countries with restrictive policies receive less foreign direct investments (FDIs) as compared to neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“Tingnan mo ang Pilipinas geographically isolated compared to our neighboring countries, pagdating sa economic policy isolated pa rin kasi masyadong restrictive,” he pointed out.

Garbin likewise encouraged the public, especially those against the economic Charter amendments to participate in the committee deliberations of RBH No. 2, which will be livestreamed in the House official Facebook page.

He revealed that among the invited resource persons who will attend the upcoming hearing on Tuesday are Dr. Bernardo Villegas, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution and founder of the Makati Business Club, international trade lawyer Anthony Abad, and representatives from the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines.

It can be recalled that Speaker Velasco also earlier assured the public that the debates on RBH No. 2 will be transparent and fair.

Publication Source :    People's Tonight