Solon ‘fairly optimistic’ to get House nod for economic amendments in the Constitution

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 27) — Rizal Rep. Michael Duavit said he is “fairly optimistic” about getting a three-fourths vote required to push for the proposed economic amendments in the 1987 Constitution.

“Optimistic fairly… You take it one step at time that is why we deliberate, but do I think we can get the three-fourths vote in the House, yes I think so,” Duavit said during a Wednesday briefing by the Majority bloc.

He noted that most of the negative standpoint are due to fear of what might happen and what and how lawmakers are doing the deliberations.

“If we manage to do it successfully while it is being done the right way and no abuse is being perpetrated, the proposal really makes sense,” Duavit noted.

He said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s support will help influence the sentiment of the public and other legislators who are against the move. However, he added that Filipinos will have to be more independent and critical about the matter since this will directly affect their lives.

Discussions at the House committee level are ongoing regarding the proposed amendments to the charter’s economic provisions. House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco filed Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 that seeks to ease restrictions on foreign ownership in selected sectors in the country with the insertion of the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law.”

The bill also states that the Congress should convene as a constituent assembly and approve the changes by a three-fourths vote of all lawmakers, with "each House voting separately."

Minority mixed on Cha Cha

In a separate briefing, members of the Minority bloc were mixed on their stand regarding the proposed amendments.

Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo said amending the economic provisions in the Constitution is the first step to return to pre-pandemic economic growth, since this would attract more investments, promote market competition, generate more jobs and increase income.

Gabriela party-list Arlene Brosas said this is not the right time to implement such changes, especially now that the country is still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. She said it would be better to focus on how to help Filipinos recover from the adverse effects of the health crisis.

On land ownership, Magsasaka Party-list Rep. Argel Cabatbat said they believe that more investments will help the country, but allowing foreigners to own lands, especially those for agriculture, puts Filipino farmers at a disadvantage.