Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco is investing the rest of his tenure as House Speaker in pursuit of his vaunted economic Charter change.
In a statement Sunday, Velasco revealed his reasons for reviving discussions on Cha-cha on the House committee level, which he hopes would ultimately lead to ratification in May 2022.
“We hope to finish the debates before the end of 2021 and present it to the public for ratification alongside the election of new leaders in the 2022 national elections. Until then, we assure the public that the debates on RBH 2 (Resolution of Both Houses No.2) will be transparent and fair,” Velasco said.
RBH 2, filed by Velasco when the world was still free of the COVID-19 scourge, seeks to lift the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
“When I filed RBH 2 in July 2019, the Philippines was poised to become one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. The World Bank gave the country a projection of 6.6 percent GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth in the years 2020 and 2021. No one could have predicted the onset of a global pandemic, along with the devastation it has brought upon the economies around the world,” he noted.
Velasco took over the Speakership from Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano last Oct. 13. He will remain at the chamber’s helm until the end of the 18th Congress in June 2021.
He recently tasked the Committee on Constitutional Amendments chaired by Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. to take up RBH 2.
“It is incumbent upon the duly-elected representatives of the Filipino people to enact laws that will provide much-needed economic relief to our countrymen, especially during these unprecedented times. RBH 2 seeks to liberalize the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution that prevent us from becoming fully competitive with our Asian neighbors,” Velasco said.
“We are proposing to amend Sections 2, 3, 7, 10, and 11 of Article 12 (National Patrimony and Economy), Section 4 of Article 14 (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports), and Section 11 of Article 16 (General Provisions) to add the phrase ‘unless otherwise provided by law.’ The addition of this phrase will allow Congress to enact laws to free up the economy to foreign investors, or maintain the status quo,” the Speaker explained.
Foreign investments, Velasco said, play a crucial role in the Philippine economy by supporting domestic jobs as well as the creation of physical and knowledge capital across a range of industries.
“The need to attract foreign capital is critical to support our economy’s recovery from COVID-19,” he noted.
“As global economies slowly start to reopen, we cannot allow the Philippines to lag behind in terms of investments and opportunities. We need to seize the momentum if we are to fully recover from the economic devastation of COVID-19,” he said.