News – PH – House opens debates on the elimination of “unintended anomalies” in the Constitution


MANILA, Philippines – Members of the House of Representatives on Monday (February 22) began floor debates aimed at amending and correcting the 1987 Constitution, what proponents termed an “unintended anomaly” affecting Philippine economic growth restricted

More than a month after the House Constitutional Amendment Committee held deliberations on the resolution of both Chambers No. 2, Committee Chairman and Party List Rep Alfredo Garbin JrAko Bicol took the floor to push for a constitutional amendment to open the Filipino economy to more foreign investors

“It is time to correct the unintended anomaly by introducing this amendment that gives the Filipino legislature the freedom to change the time-bound laws enshrined in the Filipino constitution now and now to the detriment of the common good of Filipinos of the future, ”said Garbin in his sponsorship speech

He said a “well-written charter must not only protect individual rights and organize government, but also specify how it can be amended to respond to changing economic, social and political conditions”

He said that there were only five words to add to provisions of the Constitution that needed to be amended: “unless otherwise provided by law”

This would give the government “sufficient flexibility to take into account different circumstances prevailing at different stages of our economic development path before a temporary policy is formulated”

The resolution was tabled in 2019 by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and adopted last February 2 by the House’s Constitutional Amendment to relax the economic restrictions in the Charter while maintaining the ban on foreign ownership of land

The panel members voted 64-3-3 for the resolution to be adopted, as Garbin said the House plans to approve it in the final reading before it goes on Jan. March is taking a break

The measure proposed to replace the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in Article No 12 (national heritage and economy), Article No 14 (education, science and technology) and Article 16 (general provisions)

This, according to proponents, would ease restrictions on ownership and management of mass media, utilities, educational institutions, investments and capital for foreign investors

Garbin said these “nationalist” regulations “turned out to be a curse rather than a blessing for the country as they restricted or discouraged the flow of FDI”

“While these provisions may be very well meant and appear to advance the interests of Filipinos, in the long run the country and the common good of all Filipinos will suffer,” he said

“They believe in the need to amend the Constitution to remove these overly protective provisions in order to attract more foreign investment and take measures that will enable the country to compete more effectively in the global economy,” he said / p>

Garbin was headed by two lower chamber economists – Albay Rep Joey Salceda, chairman of the House Means and Ways Committee, and Marikina Rep Stella Luz Quimbo

In his sponsorship address, Salceda said that “even a little trade and investment would be phenomenal catalysts for rapid development” for underdeveloped countries in what he describes as hyperglobalized

“Instead, despite our apparent national need for these development catalysts, we have remained closed to foreign capital, skills and technology,” he said, adding that the Philippines are the most restrictive in Southeast Asia other than manufacturing,

Salceda said he was optimistic that the Philippines will gain 66 million jobs “if we follow the resolution immediately,” with “the right enabling laws”

“But there is time and there is an opportunity for us to catch up,” he said

“As the economy grows, there remains immense growth potential for FDI in the Philippines as we liberalize FDI,” Salceda


“I am convinced that after COVID-19 we will bounce back very strongly. We will recover even stronger and more sustainably if foreign direct investment can be part of our bounce-back strategy,” he said

He said he had “no illusion” that the solution was “a magic wand to all of our problems”

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“The overwhelming evidence is that we made a mistake in codifying our fears and paranoia into our constitution,” he said

“While we remained stubborn, our neighbors began to skip us. For a country like ours, which has global ambitions, it is mature to come of age, acknowledge our misjudgment and correct our mistake. It’s never too late for that Doing the right thing, ”added Salceda

Quimbo, a member of the minority bloc, agreed with her colleagues, arguing: “There is insufficient reason why the Constitution must be resolutely against the liberalization of our economy, especially at a time when protectionist policies contradict it our economic interests ”

“Encouraging foreign investment can also immediately increase competition in the market, which has been shown worldwide to benefit consumers by lowering prices, improving quality and enabling long-term innovation,” she said in her Sponsorship speech

She said that the effort to ease economic restraints in the charter “is not simply about opening the floodgates and allowing foreign companies to oust our local businesses”

“It is not a free pass. By including the phrase” unless otherwise required by law, “the measure provides flexibility for these economic provisions, but allows lawmakers to combat the fear of some of our compatriots that we may harm the local Industry will be inundated with overseas companies, “she said

She said Congress should be given flexibility and legroom to “manage the economy according to the demands of the time”

“It enables lawmakers to take action that can help the Filipino economy compete with its neighbors and fuel growth while ensuring that there is adequate protection for local businesses,” Quimbo said

“This ChaCha will give Congress the legroom it needs to respond to the needs of the modern world,” she said

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Quimbo added that opening up the economy to foreign direct investment is not the only thing the country needs to do to achieve economic growth and development It stressed the need to invest in infrastructure, eradicate corruption and bureaucracy, and ensure the rule of law prevails

“But the first necessary step is to remove the restrictive economic provisions in our constitution, otherwise we run the risk of being left further behind,” she said

The resolution, she added, “is not a sufficient condition for inclusive growth, but it is necessary to move forward”

“This resolution is a necessary step in creating a fairer and more dynamic business environment that aims to maximize benefits to the Filipino people,” said Quimbo

She supported the resolution and said, “This is the rational choice that Congress should make to move our economy forward”

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House of Representatives of the Philippines, Constitutional Reform in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, Philippines, Debate, Plenary Session

News – PH – House launches floor debates on “unintentional anomalies” in the Constitution