(File photo)

MANILA – House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chair Rufus Rodriguez on Monday urged the Senate to take cognizance of the Fitch Solutions’ assessment that constitutional economic reform could improve the investment and economic climate in the country.

Cagayan De Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rodriguez said senators also should not ignore the overwhelming sentiment of the House of Representatives members to rewrite the Constitution’s economic provisions.

This, after Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said “it would be useless for senators to tackle Charter change since there would be no vote for it in his chamber.”

“The Senate cannot and should not ignore our initiative, which is an expression of the people’s consensus we gathered in our recent nationwide public hearings and consultations,” he said.

On March 6, the House overwhelmingly voted to approve Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 which calls on Congress to convene a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. It is scheduled to vote on Monday on House Bill No. 7352, which implements the resolution.

“Inter-chamber courtesy calls that the Senate tackles any measure passed by the House, especially if it is approved by an overwhelming vote and requires urgent attention, and vice versa,” Rodriguez said.

He said Zubiri should not be afraid of the result of the Senate vote on the proposed charter change.

“Let the people know who are against and who are for reform that could result in more foreign companies investing or expanding their businesses in the country,” he added.

In its report, Fitch Solutions said the present economic provisions of the Constitution have always been a “challenge” for foreign investors.

Rodriguez said recent reports showed that the unemployment rate in the country rose to 4.8 percent in January this year from 4.3 percent in December last year. These figures translated to about 2.3 million jobless workers, many of whom were in the construction sector.

“We need more foreign capital to create more jobs and income for our people, to reduce the number of unemployed among those with employable skills,” he said. (PNA)