House passes RBH No. 7 on economic Charter change

House of Representatives
House of RepresentativesFile photo

THE House of Representatives approved on third and final reading Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 7, which contains its own version of the proposed amendments to the Constitution’s restrictive economic provisions.

A total of 288 members of the lower chamber of Congress voted in favor RBH No. 7, while eight voted no and two abstention.

RBH No. 7 was principally authored by Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Third District Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Deputy Speaker and Quezon Representative David Suarez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe, Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Representative Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, and other House leaders.

It is a clone of RBH No. 6, filed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Juan Edgardo Angara and Loren Legarda in the Senate.

Both RBH No. 6 and 7 seek to amend Articles 12, 14 and 16 of the Constitution, or the provision on public services, education and advertising industry through the insertion of the phrase, “unless otherwise provided by law.”

It aims to empower Congress to lift or relax present economic restrictions in the nation’s basic law, and the addition of the qualifier “basic” to Paragraph 2, Section 4 of Article XIV, which requires educational institutions to be owned 60-40 rule or at least 60 percent should be owned by a Filipino citizen or corporation and the rest by the foreign investor.

This means that ownership of basic education facilities would remain to Filipinos, while higher education facilities would be open to full foreign ownership.

Romualdez maintained that these amendments are the “last piece in the puzzle of investment measures” in order for the country “to sustain our economic growth, create more job and income opportunities, and in general, make life better for Filipinos.”

“These changes, if ratified by our people in a plebiscite, will greatly boost these measures, including our President’s investment missions abroad which have generated actual investments and pledges in the billions of dollars and created thousands of jobs,” he said.

He said it will send a strong signal to the international community especially foreign investors that the country is now fully open for business.

“We heard the wise counsel and suggestions of the resource persons and experts we invited to our hearings. We assure the business community and our people that we are working on the other factors that affect investments, like ease of doing business, the high cost of electricity, infrastructure, and similar issues,” he added.

Romualdez called on the Senate to pass RBH No. 6 soon. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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