House OKs RBH7 on final reading

VOTING 288-8 with two abstentions, the House of Representatives approved Wednesday on third and final reading the proposed amendments to the Constitution’s restrictive economic provisions.

“The proposed economic amendments to the Constitution are the last piece in the puzzle of investment measures the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been taking to sustain our economic growth, create more job and income opportunities, and in general, make life better for Filipinos,” Speaker Martin Romualdez, principal author of the measure, said in a statement.

“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,” Romualdez said.

Congress’ approval and that of the people would send a powerful message to foreign investors and the international community that the Philippines is willing to fully open for business and investments, he added.

Under RBH7, the proposed changes are on the grant of legislative franchises to and ownership (60-40) of public utilities in Article Xll, ownership of basic educational facilities (60-40) in Article XlV, and ownership of advertising firms (70-30) in Article XVl.

The suggested principal amendments are the insertion of the phrase, “unless otherwise provided by law,” which would empower Congress to lift or relax present economic restrictions in the nation’s basic law, and the addition of the qualifier “basic” in Article XIV.

It also restates the provision of the Constitution that Congress may propose amendments “upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members.”

RBH No. 7 replicates RBH No. 6, introduced by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Loren Legarda and Juan Edgardo Angara.

The House leader is hopeful that the Senate would pass the same soon.