Cha-cha push passes 2nd read

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Joint resolution allowing 100% foreign ownership of land, businesses breezes through with no objections

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They were expected to open the floor for debates on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law but congressmen present in Wednesday’s session ended up voting on a resolution calling for amendments to the Constitution’s economic provisions.

The so-called economic Cha-cha (Charter change) or Resolution of Both Houses 1, authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Sen. Ralph Recto, was passed on second reading without a single objection, not even from the so-called militant congressmen via viva voce voting.

“This is the first time it ever reached this point and I’m very happy. The biggest hurdle is still to come, three-fourths vote of everybody including those who are absent,” Belmonte told reporters.

Deputy Speaker Georgidi Aggabao, who was presiding, dispensed with the roll call and proceeded with the session.

No one questioned the quorum, not even Buhay party-list Rep. Jose Lito Atienza, who has a penchant for questioning the number of congressmen present on the floor.

Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc who have consistently been opposing moves to amend the Constitution did not lift a finger during the quiet Wednesday session.

Gabriela women’s party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan later issued a statement saying the House of Representatives is courting economic disaster and is now one step closer to further allowing large-scale environmental plunder with the approval of the resolution.

“Congress is on the brink of committing a most unpatriotic act in seeking to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution to allow 100 percent foreign ownership of land, resources and key industries in the Philippines. This will mean further economic exclusivity to the detriment of the growing number of poor Filipinos,” Ilagan said.

She added that the Makabayan bloc will exhaust various avenues to block attempts to remove protectionist provisions in the Constitution.

If both Houses approved the resolution this year, a plebiscite for the constitutional amendments could be piggybacked on the 2016 elections to save funds.

If the joint resolution was passed by both Houses and approved by voters in the plebiscite,
it would be the first amendment to the 1987 Constitution.

The 1987 Constitution was drafted in 1986 immediately after President Corazon Aquino took power and was approved in a plebiscite in February the following year.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd usually discourages proposals to amend the Constitution, which he regards as a legacy of his mother Corazon but he has not stopped his allies from pushing the economic Cha-cha.

Earlier this month, Belmonte said they will try to approve the economic Charter change resolution before Congress ends its second regular session on June 11.

“We will be able to approve it on second reading in June,” he also told reporters last May 13.

He, however, cautioned, that the third and final-reading approval would be a different matter altogether.

Belmonte then said he does not see any problem in the approval of the economic Cha-cha as a second reading only requires a viva voce or voice vote from those present.

He expects greater challenges on third reading though, as this requires about 200 votes.

“Third reading would require two-thirds of the chamber to approve it or around 200 members. Really, we’d have to make a big effort to see to it that people will attend the session,” Belmonte said.

The economic Cha-cha or RBH-1 is eyeing to amend economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution, which set a 60-40 rule that limits foreign ownership of certain business activities in the Philippines.

The resolution pushes the inclusion of the phrase “unless provided by law” in the foreign-ownership provision of the Constitution, particularly on land ownership, public utilities, natural resources, media and advertising industries.

Under Article XII of the Constitution, foreign investors are prohibited to own more than 40 percent of real property and businesses, while they are totally restricted from exploiting natural resources and owning any company in the media industry.

Belmonte is convinced that amending the 28-year-old Constitution would attract more foreign investments into the country and would create more jobs.

“We need more investments and business activities to absorb our growing labor force. We believe that competition is good for our economy and our people, and that a competitive marketplace for the exchange of goods and services benefits the consumers through lower prices, quality service and better quality consumer information,” he said.

Explaining the rush in approving the bill, Belmonte pointed to time as no longer in their favor but they are doing their best to convince more colleagues to support the measure.

“Remember, this is a joint resolution of the House and the Senate, it doesn’t require the approval of the President,” he said.

According to the House leadership, if the Senate succeeds in doing the same thing, “then it will be a historical thing, the first time that it has ever been done. Then, it goes straight to the Comelec [Commission on Elections], it doesn’t need to pass through the President. The problem here is there is no money for a plebiscite.”

Belmonte said the government might hold the plebiscite for Cha-cha alongside the 2016 national elections instead of spending for separate polls, which need at least P7 billion to P8 billion.

With PNA

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13 Comments

  1. danilo de leon on

    BBL for Charter Change? such a bitter pill to be swallowed. But If this will be what it will take to effect the necessary changes in the economic provisions of the constitution, so be it..

  2. Matagal na ito hangang ngayon hindi pa nanagawa,ibasura na yang stupid BBL na yan at ifocus niyo na lang sa mga bill na makakatulong sa pagunlad ng ating bansa.

  3. Knowing the way our congress does things for their own benefit and against the good of the people, I do not believe that their move for a Cha-Cha to ammend economic items is what they will change. They will change term limits. That is our congres. They one one thing and then do another. We should not trust them.

  4. If BBL is a sell out of mindanao; charter change is purposefully being approved to accommodate and constitutionalize the BBL. Chacha would not only constitutionalize the BBL but it is the sell of the whole Philippines to first world countries. The congress are one in selling our country and make all Filipinos squatters in their own country.

  5. Anybody, including Filipinos can buy properties,invest in the USA and other countries.That is the essence of FREE TRADE and it hastens competetiveness,progress and wealth sharing. All progressive countries welcome free trade. The USA, European Union (EU) Canada,Australia etc…..Why are we so paranoid and insecure?

    • Because of the dollar or euro to phil peso exchange. Will you be willing to bid for a piece of land against a foreigner who has 45 or 75 more money than you.

  6. The current restriction on foreign ownership of businesses in the Philippines is one of the things that disincentivize international investments to our country. If you look at the economic model of Singapore, they allow 100% foreign ownership for businesses, hence attracting more investors because the benefits are clear. Even if Singapore is a much smaller country than ours, they allow 100% foreign ownership. Why? Because its extremely beneficial to the economy.
    The Philippines is one of the few countries left in Asia which doesn’t allow a 100% foreign ownership.

    We can’t wait for years so that small businesses could flourish anymore, especially since these small businesses often fail and provide small salaries to their employees. We need big companies to enter so that they can provide more jobs with better pay. Their entry will have a ripple effect and cause local companies to increase the pay of their employees if they want to retain their workforce as well as pressure them to provide better services. Multinational corporations also have a reputation of paying their taxes right so that they can maintain a positive goodwill with the people.

    This initiative could also provide challenges against harmful monopolies such as Meralco. Companies are also the primary parties which improve our infrastructure – just like what the Ayalas did to Makati and BGC.

    I’m all green for this proposed charter change.

  7. Malinaw na ang may dugong intsik na si B.S. Aquino III ay walang pagmamahal sa mga Filipino. Kaya pala pinabayaan na nyang angkinin ng Tsina ang West Philippine Sea. Ngayon naman, yun mismong malinaw na atin na, papayagan pang ariin ng mga dayuhan. Mga $#%^&@@ talaga!

  8. This article just breaks my heart. The Philippines has made tremendous progress over the past 10 years in moving their society into the 21st century. Tremendous foreign and local investment has improved the basic infrastructure of the country. Much work still needs to be done in form of government corruption and reform, but the passage of this constitutional amendment would be a huge mistake and a step backward to the days of the haciendas. Small business and industry is just starting to blossom in the Philippines. Opening the economic door to foreign companies and investment would be devastating. Huge foreign companies will dominate the Philippines. Does the average Filipino really want a Walmart in their neighborhood? Please stop this sell out of the Philippines before it is too late.

  9. Kung paano kahirap magpundar ng sariling lupa t bahay ang mga karamihan ofw,lalo na ang mga mahihirap ngayon sa pinas,lalo na kapag naging batas ang dayuhan ay maaangkin nila 100%ang lupa sa atin,kahit tubig ng dagat ay mahihirapan kang mahawak ng hindi ka magbabayad,malamang lahat ng na dati mong napupuntahan na hindi ka nagbabayad ay lahat mababakuran at hindi ka na kailangan mag-abroad para maging ofw,dahil sa sarili mong bansa,ikaw ay magiging dayuhan! At magiging tunay na alila! Kapag nabili ng dayuhan ng peso ang lupa,ibibinta nila ng libo-libo at dayuhan lang ang makakakayang makabili nito!

  10. Bakit hindi na lang ninyo ipagbili ang Pilipinas sa mga intsek? Itong tongreso at senatong na mga inutil ay hindi ganap para sa kanila na ang mga Filipino na magpalipin sa middle eastern para mapaginhawa ang buhay ng kanilang pamilya ay ipagbibili pa ng ganap ang lupa ng mga Filipino sa banyaga. Buwagin ang walang silbing tongress at senatong.

    REPLY
    Pero buwagin na rin ang Aquino administraton–kasi si Pnoy naman ang nag-uutos sa mga tongressmen at senatongs.

    • Kailangan na mag ingat si pnoy nagiinbita siya ng madugong himagsikan na maaring tatapos sa kanila ng mga nagtatraydor sa mga Filipino.