Lacson says 'no' to task force's call for economic Cha-cha

Published July 28, 2021, 4:09 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Wednesday, July 28, thumbed down an interagency task force’s call for the Senate to act on the resolution seeking economic amendments to the Constitution.

Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson (Senate of the Philippines)

The Interagency Task Force on Federalism and Constitutional Reform led by the Department of Iterior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday appealed to senators to tackle the Resolution of Both House No. 2 (RBH 2) before the filing of candidacies for the 2022 elections.

“Hindi kailangan (It’s not necessary),” Lacson said when asked about it during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

Lacson said several of his colleagues share this view as they are already discussing some legislative proposals that would address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic without tweaking the constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership.

Senate leaders earlier said that the chamber will prioritize the passage of the proposed amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Public Service Act, and Foreign Investments Act — which have been certified as urgent President Duterte.

Lacson said senators have agreed to make sure not to make any amendments to the country’s charter in passing these bills.

“Patuloy naming tinatalakay sa floor. I’m sure hindi babangga sa Saligang Batas at mapo-prove na hindi kailangan ng economic Cha-cha (We are continously tackling it on the floor. I’m sure these will not clash with the Constitution and we’ll be able to prove that we do not need an economic Cha-cha),” he said.

“So ang sagot, ‘no’ (So the answer is ‘no’),” Lacson said.

“[Cha-cha is] Dead in the water,” he said.

The House of Representatives approved the RBH 2 last June.

Specifically, the measure seeks to allow lawmakers to change the constitutional limitations on foreign ownership in certain sectors of the economy like telecommunications, public utilities, media, advertising, and education.

Congressmen have insisted that such amendments will “hasten” the Philippines’ recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.