Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. admitted on Wednesday that his measure to change the economic provisions of the Constitution to attract more investments will be difficult to pass because it will need the vote of 192 members of the House of Representatives.
Belmonte is referring to his Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 1 which seeks to scrap the 40 percent restriction on foreign ownership on public utilities, media entities, land and exploration of natural resources and lift the 30 percent limit of foreign ownership of advertising firms and other business ventures.
Under Belmonte’s proposal, RBH No. 1 would need to get the approval of two-thirds of the 292 members of the House (192 votes) and three-fourths of the Senate members (18 votes) before the Commission on Elections holds a plebiscite to determine if the people favor such moves.
“The hurdle really is getting the two-thirds vote of the 292 [House members]. That’s the real test. But I want to show that this can be done. Our Constitution is dated 1987. We can change it simply and decisively,” Belmonte told reporters.
The proposed economic Charter change (Cha-cha) had been under plenary debate since September last year. The Senate, on the other hand, has not lifted a finger on pending proposals seeking to change the Constitution.
Still, Belmonte is convinced that his measure will address the unemployment problem in the country.
“We have to open up so we’ll have more business, industries, jobs, taxes [to be collected]. With more investments, there will be genuine competition, not just people who compete but are actually talking to each other. And with genuine competition, there will be better products at lower cost which is beneficial to all,” the Speaker said.