Thu. May 13th, 2021
(Photo Courtesy: http://www.bworldonline.com)

The chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments hopes to begin in the first week of February the plenary deliberations on the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2, which seeks to liberalize the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution. 

Appearing at the Ugnayan sa Batasan media forum, Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo “Pido” Garbin Jr. said his committee aims to come up with a report on RBH No. 2 after “one or two” more hearings. He said the next hearing is scheduled on January 26.

Garbin said House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, who filed RBH No. 2 in July 2019, has the full support in pushing for what he referred to as a “meaningful constitutional reform.” 

Last week, members of the supermajority coalition in the House, led by Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, signed a manifesto of support for the approval of RBH No. 2, vowing to deliberate only on the economic provisions of the Constitution. 

The manifesto also stated that the House of Representatives and the Senate shall vote separately on any amendment to be made on the Constitution. 

Asked on the timing of the said proposal and whether it can be passed by the House, Garbin said there is a need to prepare the economy and the needed policy to send a positive signal to the international business community.

“We want to send the signal to the business community that we are now open and that the restrictive policy will be lifted,” he said.

“We want to better our position or business climate, we want to be proactive in promoting our investment,” he added.

Noting the urgency of opening up the economy, Garbin cited empirical data presented by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OEDC) and World Bank that the Philippines is on top of one of the most restrictive economies in the world. The OECD data, he said, further states that countries with restrictive policies receive less foreign direct investments (FDIs) as compared to neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. SOVEREIGNPH

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