With the House of Representatives resuming sessions this week a member of the House leadership has urged his fellow legislators, as well as the public, to judge proposals to amend the Constitution on their merits, and stressed on Monday that the Legislature should not miss a “golden opportunity” to improve the law of the land.
According to Deputy Speaker Benny Abante Jr., after extensive deliberations that involved the country’s top economists, legal experts, and representatives of the business sector, “it is clear that the country will benefit from amendments to the economic provisions of the Constitution––amendments that will allow legislators to pass measures that will pave the way for more foreign investments and more economic opportunities for our countrymen.”
“The proposed amendments simply allow us to be more flexible and give us and future legislators the freedom to obtain input from the country’s economic managers and take steps to open up the economy if we all believe that it will benefit us.”
The Manila 6th District Representative pointed out that even if passed by Congress, Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) Proposing Amendments to Certain Economic Provisions, Particularly Articles XII, XIV, and XVI of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, does not automatically allow relaxation of restrictions on the entry of foreign capital, but instead gives Congress the chance to look at the current economic climate and pass legislation necessary to allow the country to maximize the opportunities these present.
“The proposed amendments simply allow us to be more flexible and give us and future legislators the freedom to obtain input from the country’s economic managers and take steps to open up the economy if we all believe that it will benefit us,” explained the lawmaker.
“In my view, that is better than the current iteration of the Constitution, which really ties our hands and binds us to an economic worldview that predates the developments of the past 35 years,” said Abante.
“The global economy has changed, business models have evolved, and technology has developed by leaps and bounds––and our country should be able to adapt to these when necessary.”
The solon added that “there is a clear consensus among the country’s economists that we need to relax the economic restrictions of the Constitution, and the passage of this RBH is the first concrete step in this direction.”
“Fears that Charter change would lead to the lifting of term limits or other political moves are unfounded and should not prevent us from doing what has to be done.”
Abante addressed concerns that the move to amend the economic provisions Constitution would open the door to amendments to the Charter’s political provisions, and reiterated the assurance of House Committee on Constitutional Amendments Chairperson Alfredo Garbin Jr. that constitutional amendments would be limited to the provisions cited in the RBH title.
Abante stressed that “fears that charter change would lead to the lifting of term limits or other political moves are unfounded and should not prevent us from doing what has to be done; let’s judge the resolution on its merits and make the most of this golden opportunity to improve our 35 year-old Constitution.”