The House of Representatives on Monday started the plenary deliberation on the proposed amendments to restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

House kicks off Cha-Cha debates in plenary

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By Billy Begas

The House of Representatives on Monday started the plenary deliberation on the proposed amendments to restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chairman Alfredo Garbin Jr., House Committee on Ways and Means chairman Joey Salceda and House Deputy Minority Leader Stella Luz Quimbo sponsored Resolution of Both Houses no. 2.

Garbin said experts have pointed out that the Constitution’s restrictive economic provisions “have proven to be a bane, rather than a boon for the country, for they have restricted or discouraged the flow of foreign direct investments”.

He said that amending the Constitution by adding the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in order to give Congress enough flexibility to consider different circumstances in formulating needed policies.

The “unless otherwise provided by law” phrase is proposed to be inserted in several sections in Articles XII (National Patrimony and Economy), Article XIV (Education, Science and Technology), and Article XVI (General Provisions) of the Constitution.

“While these provisions may be very well-meaning and appear to favor the interests of Filipinos, over the long haul, the country and the common good of all Filipinos suffer,” added Garbin.

Amending the Constitution aimed to attract more foreign investments and to adopt policies to enable the country to compete more effectively in the global economy.

Salceda cited Vietnam as the “clearest evidence that we should not have tied our own hands behind our backs in attracting foreign investments”.

He said Vietnam began to loosen its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) restrictions in what was known as the ‘Doi Moi’ reforms in 1987 around the same time the country imposed the restriction on foreign ownership enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

“The figures from that era onward, for both countries, show a history of contrasts. As Vietnam opened its economy, FDIs began to flow. Vietnam began to overtake us in FDI-to-GDP by 1990, just 3 years after Doi Moi and the 1987 Constitution,” said Salceda.

In 2019, the latest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development FDI restrictiveness index shows that the Philippines is among the world’s most restrictive countries to FDI. The same index shows that we are the worst in ASEAN.

For those questioning the timing of the proposed amendments, Quimbo said she agree “because it is in fact overdue. Dapat po kahapon pa natin binago ang Saligang Batas upang bigyan ang Kongreso ng kakayahan na buksan ang ilang piling sektor ng ekonomiya.”

“Bakit natin kelangan buksan ang ekonomiya? Simple lang po. Kulang ang kapital ng mga negosyanteng Pilipino. Ano ang ebidensya? Ang 2.2 million na OFWs. Dahil kulang ang kapital sa ating bansa, kulang ang trabaho para sa ating mga kababayan. Ang ending, kelangan mag imbayong dagat, kelangan iwanan ang pamilya para lang kumita ng pera. When a country’s domestic capital is lacking, we simply need to look for more foreign business partners. Unfortunately, our laws are too restrictive to allow the inflow of foreign capital,” said Quimbo.

Garbin earlier said that the House leadership plans to approve the measure before the session adjourns for the Holy Week break on March 26.

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POLITIKO / Across the Nation

POLITIKO / Latest News

Lodi si Win? Migz Zubiri ribs Vico Sotto over lack of love life

Does Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto want to follow in the footsteps of bachelor Senator Sherwin Gatchalian?

Sotto’s lack of love life became the subject of senators’ ribbing Monday (March 1) when the mayor went to the Senate to personally receive the Senate’s commendation for being named as one of the United States government’s anti-corruption champions.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri acknowledged that “honest to goodness public service” can sometimes cause a politiko’s love life to take a backseat.

“Kaya ang payo ko kay Mayor Vico, huwag nyang kalimutan yung private life lalong lalo na ang kanyang love life…” Zubiri said, adding that he also got married late due to work.

“ O baka gusto po nyang e-idolize ang ating pambansang bachelor ng Senado, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian…” the senator added.

The 46-year-old Gatchalian is currently in a relationship with actress Bianca Manalo.

Sotto’s uncle, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, joked that there are “many applicants” for the role of the mayor’s girlfriend.

The 30-year-old politiko has said he doesn’t have time to find a girlfriend because of the demands of his work in government.

Parang Duterte lang: Lorenzana declines Sinovac vaccine due to old age

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana won’t be getting vaccinated with Sinovac vaccine donated by China.

And the reason for his decision? Lorezana is too old to get the Chinese-developed vaccine, which has not been recommended by local drug regulators for senior citizens.

The country’s defense actually volunteered to show leadership by example but learned he can’t be get the Sinovac vaccine due to his old age. Lorenzana is 72 years old.

“I wanted to be the first to receive the Sinovac vaccine in DND to build trust and confidence among personnel but health experts advised that those over 59 should not be vaccinated. Besides, the front liners will have first priority,” he tweeted on February 28.

In another tweet, Lorenzana said he was informed that he was not qualified for the Sinovac vaccines.

The Chinese-made vaccines have not been recommended for health workers and seniors by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to varying efficacy rates.

“I volunteered to be among the first to be vaccinated but was told that I’m not qualified based on Sinovac’s age limit (18-59). I wanted to lead by example to not cast doubt against Sinovac and hopefully bring confidence among DND personnel,” he said in a later tweet.

Although he passed up the vaccine line, Lorenzana attended the rollout of the vaccines for intended health workers in military hospitals as well as Department of National Defense personnel Monday, March 1.

“All is set for today’s rollout, with 100,000 doses allocated for DND Personnel. 29,040 of which are for the health workers of the Veterans and VLuna medical centers, military and civilian staff of the DND-Proper,” he said.



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