THREAD: The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments starts deliberating the Resolution of Both Houses 2, which seeks amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution | LIVE

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Constitutional Amendments panel chair Alfredo Garbin of AKO-Bicol Party-list presides the hearing
LOOK: Resource persons for today’s Cha-cha deliberation

📸 @HousepfRepsPH
Minority Leader Stephen Paduano inquires how the voting process will be done during the deliberation. Rep. Garbin explains a quorum may be established by those physically present and those present via Zoom teleconferencing
Rep. Garbin says lawmakers can manifest their votes online or via text message
Under RBH 2, Congress should convene as a constituent assembly and approve amendments to the Constitution by a three-fourths vote of all lawmakers, with the House and Senate voting separately.…
Rep. Garbin on counting of votes: We will fully ascertain the authenticity of the messages perceived to be coming from the House members
Rep. Garbin: We are now sitting as a Constituent Assembly, exercising our constituent power
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate asks: Can Senate create its own rules regarding the charter talks?

Rep. Garbin and Vice Chair Lorenz Defensor: Senate has its own power to determine its own rules. A bicameral conference committee can be done to reconcile differences.
Senators Francis Tolentino and Bato dela Rosa earlier filed a resolution also seeking to convene Congress as a constituent assembly to introduce charter amendments.
Rep. Zarate asks: What happened to the recalled resolution which included political changes in the charter, under then chair Rep. Rufus Rodriguez?

Rep. Garbin stresses: No political provisions. Walang term extension dito, walang abolition of term limits.
Rep. Garbin, however, notes that some details from the previous committee report may be consolidated once deliberations on RBH 2 conclude.
Former panel chair Rep. Rodriguez recalled last year the Cha-Cha resolution they discreetly approved in December 2019 due to the pandemic. The draft report included a fixed five-year term for lawmakers and local officials.…
Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta says it would be better for lawmakers from the House and Senate to do a joint voting for a smoother passage of the measure: Maybe we should have sounded off our counterpart in the Senate kung makukuha nila iyong 3/4
Rep. Garbin refutes this, saying this is not indicated in RBH 2
Rep. Lorenz Defensor also refutes Marcoleta's position, says House must respect the democratic process and the 'acceptability of the people': Importanteng makita ng mga tao na tama ang proseso. We would not reduce the power of the Senate by taking their power to [vote] separately
Rep. Fortun: Rules to adopt should be consistent with the stringent requirement for amending the Constitution. We may want the convenient route but this should not prevail. Whatever is adopted by the Bicam shall be brought back to each House for another round of voting na 3/4
Rep. Defensor maintains: The committee will stick to the economic provisions of the charter
Rep. Defensor: Kung may ibang bersyon ang Senado na ipinasa at wala iyan sa saklaw ng ating resolusyon and its outside the provisions of the Constitution that we propose to amend dapat lang ipasok iyan when we approve the bicam report kung umabot man tayo doon.
Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla now backs Marcoleta's position to conduct a joint voting on Cha-cha: Will we be forever bicameral? This does not close the door to the fact that we want to change the form of government when the time comes
Rep. Defensor to Rep. Remulla: It is clear from the start that we will vote separately from the Senate not to dilute their power in the process of the Constitution
Rep. Edcel Lagman: When we talk of a Constituent Assembly, it is a joint meeting of the members of the House and the Senate as a Constituent Assembly?
Rep. Garbin: We may differ when defining. It's a body authorized to propose amendments. It's a group of elected reps that has the power to change the Constitution. The Constitution does not explicitly provide for the convening of a Constituent Assembly prior to making proposals.
Rep. Lagman: If members of the Constituent Assembly are not sitting as legislators but as Constituent members of the assembly then the voting should not be separate but it should be joint because there is no distinction between the Senate and House.
Rep. Lagman: With respect to the voting procedure, this would have to reach the Supreme Court and definitely this would delay the proceedings.
UP School of Economics Professor Emeritus Gerardo Sicat favors economic provisions in Cha-cha talks: This is the time to do it because when will we do it when we have a crisis that needs enormous effort by the government to organize itself?
UP Economics Prof Sicat: For so many decades we have been trying to amend portion of our foreign investment laws. Although we have improved some, we have not really touched the Constitutional amendments that dealt with the basic restrictions.
UP Economics Prof Sicat: The economic recovery will be there but we have to lay the foundation for making the Constitution become more progressive in attracting new reforms that will help the country move forward.
Former National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Ernesto Pernia also favors economic Cha-cha, says this will accelerate economic growth amid the pandemic
Ex-NEDA Sec. Pernia: We need to really push that with policies including allowing foreign direct investment into the country so that this recovery will accelerate and become fuller and beneficial.
Ex-NEDA Sec. Pernia: From 2016 to 2019, we have ben growing an average of 6.6% per annum. But if we look at the quality of economic growth you will see it is mainly driven by consumption and household spending on the demand side (1/2)
Ex-NEDA Sec. Pernia: And then on the production side it is driven by the services sector, which is not the kind of quality we can sustain and make the economy more dynamic (2/2)
Ex-NEDA Sec. Pernia says the Philippines is currently one of the most restrictive countries in terms of foreign investment in Southeast Asia
Ex-NEDA Sec. Pernia: We cannot be competitive with our ASEAN and global neighbors if we do not open our economy. If we don't do it, we will be locked into only a 5% to 6% economic growth which we shouldn't be having
UP School of Economics Professor Emeritus Raul Fabella on economic Cha-cha: If we are not investing more of ourselves, I don't see why foreign investors will do so.
UP Economics Prof Fabella also cites the country's weakness in judicial system and unsettled peace and order, which affect both local and foreign investors
IBON executive director Rosario Guzman is also against economic Cha-cha, says the economy has already been declining for the past three years. She adds that a better way to address this would be the creation of an aggressive fiscal stimulus
UP Economics Prof Fabella: Who can make the land flourish best should own it. The land should be able to produce as much as it can and citizenship is not a condition
IBON: Vastly growing foreign investment has not been contributing to the country's economic progress.
IBON: Policy making will be bounded by what is acceptable to foreign investors in the country. We will become even less able to pursue effective measures to build national industries.
In the middle of the hearing, Rep. Garbin cites Senate President Tito Sotto's view on Cha-cha passage in Congress: A one-liner amendment [may be made possible] through joint resolution, then a plebiscite in 2022
Foundation for Economic Freedom President Calixto Chikiamco: We support liberalizing foreign ownership restrictions in the Constitution. We need to change to another economic model.
FEF: This period underscores the need to restructure the economy to make the environment more favorable for investments that will counteract the severe economic recession we are in.
FEF fellow Gary Olivar on the restrictive rules on FDI of the country: Sa simula pa lang sinasabi na natin mismo sa ating Constitution hindi kayo welcome dito. Iyong mga nanliligaw nasa pintuan pa lamang hindi na pinapapasok.
FEF also cites a DOF study that said the Philippines is the most restrictive ASEAN country when it comes to FDI
Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya: In the last meeting, the inter-agency task force decided that there is no more time for the revision of the Constitution.
DILG Usec. Malaya: The time remaining will only allow surgical amendments to the Constitution and one of these is the lifting of restrictive economic provision of the Constitution.
DILG Usec. Malaya says prior to the pandemic, they were able to gather 555,610 signatures across provinces that signify support for surgical amendments on economic provisions.
DILG Usec. Malaya: If we just explain to them [public], malakas po at naiintindihan nila at sinusuportahan nila. There is no better time than now to lift the restrictive economic provision of the 1987 Constitution.
Deputy Speaker Wes Gatchalian: Restriction on the foreign ownership is considered to be one of the reasons why unemployment rate and FDI have not improved. If we do not do anything about it, we will continue to lag behind be overtaken by our neighbors.
Rep. Stella Quimbo asks what have caused high land values in the country. She cites land affordability index data that said the Philippines ranking is one of the countries with the most expensive land.
FEF: First of all there is a scarcity of land because conversion from agricultural to industrial and residential are limited by approvals from DAR (1/2)
FEF: Secondly, there are low interest rates and at the same time taxes have not coped up with increase in market values that is why there is land speculation (2/2)
Rep. Quimbo says other countries allow limited foreign ownership of land
Rep. Quimbo: We need to compete for foreign capital. Tayo ay nahuhuli na sa karera so we need to do extra things. We need to relax our rules and allow exemptions to land ownership by foreigners and this is one way to attract foreign capital.
Rep. Joey Salceda: RBH2 will have more positive impact on the economy than CREATE. Instead of sending our labor force abroad, let us attract foreign investments and create the jobs here in the Philippines.
LOOK: Rep. Salceda’s summary of economic impact if RBH2 will be approved
Rep. Castro: Naniniwala ang kinatwang ito na mali ang timing ng Cha-Cha. Ayuda at bakuna ang dapat na inuuna.
IBON: We regulate and protect our domestic economy in such a way FDI becomes useful to us. Iyong pagpasok nya for the last decade is really reckless. Pinapasok lang ng pinapasok pero hindi idinirect ito sa development potentials natin.
IBON: The Philippines along with Cambodia have high land values because our government failed to distribute land to those who can flower the land best.
IBON: Land conversion has increased speculation. Inviting foreign investments in land will not even out that competition. It will even increase speculation because the foreigner has no interest in owning the land.
Chikiamco: Dahil may restrictions, nagkakaroon ng monopoly. Tulad sa telecom services, iyong mga foreign companies, gusto magprovide dito pero hindi pwede kasi may restriction sa Constitution.
Chikiamco: Dahil mataas ang cost of doing business, maraming monopoly and duopoly because of these restrictions. Walang competition. That is the reason why we want to remove these restrictions its really to introduce more competition, improve services, lower prices.

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