The square off between those in favor and opposed to amending the starts tomorrow in which both camps have vowed to make an adamant stand on their respective positions.
The showdown is expected to transpire once the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments tackles House Resolution 1 which seeks to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Charter by removing the provisions wherein foreigners are restricted to own 40 percent of public utilities, media entities, land and exploration of natural resources and 30 percent for advertising firms, and other business ventures since the majority percentage should be owned by Filipinos.
Further, the House Resolution 1 authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of Quezon City provides the phrase “as provided by law” as a safeguard that the amendments won’t tinker with the term limits of elected officials.
Reps. Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte, Romero Quimbo of Marikina and Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte see Belmonte’s proposal as necessity since it does not provide for tinkering with term limits of elected officials.
Rep. Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis party-list, on the other hand, vowed to oppose Belmonte’s measure which he sees as a key to opening the floodgates in amending the political provisions of the Constitution that could perpetuate the elected officials in power.
“I support Speaker Belmonte’s Resolution and I am a co-author of it. The proposed amendments on the economic provisions of the Constitution would make us more competitive to the global economy and might well be the answer as to why the growth that we have been experiencing has not reached the masses,” Fariñas, the House Deputy Majority Leader, said in a text message.
“The country needs it if we are to fully benefit from our investment upgrade. We are getting left behind and will continue to do so with the ASEAN economic integration implementation in 2015,” Quimbo, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said in a separate text message.
Quimbo was referring to the Association of Southeast Asian National Economic Community in 2015 which will impose zero tariff on goods and services transported within the Southeast Asian countries for the benefit of at least 600 million consumers.
“I will support the amendment of the Constitution as long as it will tinker with the political provisions,” Romualdez added.
But for Hicap, amending the 1987 Charter will only benefit foreign investors and businesses and sell Philippine economy and national patrimony to foreign interests.
“We will defend the country’s national economy, patrimony and sovereignty at all cost. Charter Change did not prosper during the terms of former presidents [Fidel] Ramos, [Joseph] Estrada and [Gloria] Arroyo. We will make sure that it will suffer the same fate under the Aquino administration,” Hicap said in closing.
LLANESCA T. PANTI