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April 21, 2024 People's Journal 96 views

THE majority of young students and community leaders who joined a recent consultative session in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are in favor of amending the charter’s economic provisions.

“We’re OK with foreign investors because (of its) benefits to the people… because we are opening employment. The more we generate employment, we stop combat and (end) poverty,” said Abdul Abedin III of Mindanao State University during a consultative session on charter change organized by Democracy Watch in Cagayan de Oro City.

Responding to claims that the Philippines should first look inward, Abesin said: “If we focus on what is in the Philippines, we don’t create employment, we don’t strengthen tourism. We are open to investments (and) to enhance tourism,” he added.

He cited the experiences of Malaysia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and BARMM which opened up their economies to foreign investments. “As BARMM we have been open to foreign investors especially in increasing Halal awareness and (developing) the Halal Industry. We see this as a potential just like what happened in Malaysia and Singapore,” Abedin said.

“Look at United Arab Emirates. They started from scratch. They did not settle with what (was available) in the Arab community. So look (at) where they are now. That is what we visualize with BARMM. That is why we are okay with foreign investors,” he added.

The majority of the participants support proposals to change the economic provisions of the Constitution but want assurances that national security protection is strengthened and guaranteed.

Some were against amending political provisions of the Constitution, particularly on lifting term limits of elected officials.

Jehvah Rosh Ha-shanah D. Cajilla, a business student, said: “We want to be globally competitive pero hindi natin yon ma-a-achieve if hindi tayo mag-a-ask ng help (but we won’t achieve it if we don’t ask for help). Change is good although high risk but high reward naman if ma-implement natin nang maayos (if we implement properly)… if there will be restrictions from the lawmakers na mas ma-implement siya nang maayos (that it will be implemented properly). If ever there will be such risk, ma-manage natin (we can manage) in the Philippines,” she said.

She expressed support for proposals to amend provisions in the Constitution on public utilities, education, and advertisement.

Another youth leader and future educator Lovely Mae Cabodbod of PHINMA Cagayan de Oro College said in Bisaya that she’s okay with foreign investors to go into education. She said this would result in “globally competitive learners.”

Last March, the House of Representatives finished plenary debates on Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 7 and approved it on second reading without amendments.

On the other hand, also last March, the Senate subcommittee tasked to handle proposed amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution has continued its discussions on RBH 6.

Both Chambers are currently on session break and are expected to continue discussions on Charter change when they resume official business in May.