Sotto: Senate to take up economic Cha-cha, but…

Published July 31, 2021, 2:34 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate may heed calls from the House of Representatives and act on the proposal to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Senate of the Philippines (MANILA BULLETIN File Photo)

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Saturday, July 31, disclosed that he already has committed to House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco that senators would discuss the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2, which pushes for an economic Charter change (Cha-cha).

Velasco is the main proponent of RBH 2.

“Naipangako ko na kay Speaker Velasco na ite-take up namin ‘yon (I promised Speaker Velasco that we will take that up),” Sotto said in an interview with radio DWIZ.

“Sabi niya, at least by January sana, or before the break on February 6. Kasi joint resolution naman ‘yon, eh; hindi naman ‘yon bill (He told me to have it passed, at least by January, or before the legislative break on February 6. Since it is only a joint resolution, and not a bill),” he added.

RBH 2 seeks to allow lawmakers to change the constitutional limitations on foreign ownership in certain sectors of the economy, such as telecommunications, public utilities, media, advertising, and education.

Congressmen claimed that it will speed up the Philippines’ recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sotto, however, gave no assurance that the Senate will pass the measure as Velasco had appealed.

“What I can promise is that we can take it up. We will take it up. I cannot promise the opinion of my colleagues,” he said.

Senators have been cold to the proposed Cha-cha, noting that pending bills may be able to address concerns for economic recovery.

Recently, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Panfilo Lacson again described the economic Cha-cha as “dead” in the upper chamber.