WITH the House of Representatives resuming sessions Monday, a House leader has urged his fellow legislators and the public to judge proposals to amend the Constitution on their merits.
Deputy Speaker and Manila Rep. Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr., stressed on Monday that the legislature should not miss a “golden opportunity” to improve the law of the land.
“It is clear that the country will benefit from amendments to the economic provisions of the Constitution––amendments that will allow legislators to pass measures that will pave the way for more foreign investments and more economic opportunities for our countrymen,” said Abante.
Abante pointed out that even if passed by Congress, Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) Proposing Amendments to Certain Economic Provisions, Particularly Articles XII, XIV, and XVI of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines (RBH), does not automatically allow relaxation of restrictions on the entry of foreign capital, but instead gives Congress the chance to look at the current economic climate and pass legislation necessary to allow the country to maximize the opportunities these present.
“The proposed amendments simply allow us to be more flexible and give us and future legislators the freedom to obtain input from the country’s economic managers and take steps to open up the economy if we all believe that it will benefit us,” Abante explained.
“In my view, that is better than the current iteration of the Constitution, which really ties our hands and binds us to an economic worldview that predates the developments of the past 35 years,” said Abante.
Abante added that “there is a clear consensus among the country’s economists that we need to relax the economic restrictions of the Constitution, and the passage of this RBH is the first concrete step in this direction.”
Abante addressed concerns that the move to amend the economic provisions Constitution would open the door to amendments to the Charter’s political provisions, and reiterated the assurance of House committee on constitutional amendments Chairperson and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. that constitutional amendments would be limited to the provisions cited in the RBH title.
Abante stressed that “fears that charter change would lead to the lifting of term limits or other political moves are unfounded and should not prevent us from doing what has to be done; let’s judge the resolution on its merits and make the most of this golden opportunity to improve our 35 year-old Constitution.”