Congress should pursue economic Cha-cha despite Pulse Asia poll

By Jose Cielito Reganit

April 4, 2024, 1:42 pm

<p>Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (File photo)

MANILA – Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Thursday maintained that the House of Representatives and the Senate should pursue economic Charter amendments despite a Pulse Asia survey showing that Filipinos were unsupportive of the initiative.

“The national leadership, beginning with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., believes that changing the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution would benefit the country as it would result in more foreign investments coming in,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

He noted that such belief is shared by the business community, concerned incumbent and former government officials, economists, professionals, and other experts as evidenced by their testimonies in recent House hearings.

The chairperson of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments further pointed out that “the right decisions are not always popular,” and thus urged President Marcos and leaders of Congress “to stay the course.”

Rodriguez said he continues to believe that changing foreign capital and ownership restrictions would bring in more foreign direct investments, which in turn would create more job and income opportunities for Filipinos.

“We are kulelat (laggards) in terms of FDIs (foreign direct investments) in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” he said.

Rodriguez added that reversing course at this point in the pursuit of economic Charter reform would worsen the country’s image before the investing community.

“It would strengthen their perception of the Philippines as urong-sulong (dilly-dallying) when it comes to opening up its economy,” he stressed.

The Mindanao lawmaker is one of the authors of Resolution of Both Houses No. 7, the House version of the proposed economic constitutional amendments.

The House has already approved RBH No. 7 on the third and final reading and has sent it to the Senate. The Senate version, RBH No. 6, is authored by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Loren Legarda and Juan Edgardo Angara.

“And we are limiting the proposed changes only to three areas. There is no proposal to extend the term of any elective official. There is no political amendment,” he stressed, noting that the inclusion of questions on political amendments in the recent survey might have confused the public.

Rodriguez also appealed to the Senate to approve the economic constitutional amendment proposals shortly after Congress reconvenes later this month.

“For the first time in 37 years, the two chambers of Congress have come this close to proposing amendments to the Constitution. The fate of economic Charter reform is in the hands of our senators,” he said. (PNA)