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NEDA: Budget for con-ass significantly lower than con-con

Holding a constitutional convention is more expensive than holding a constituent assembly, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) told a Senate hearing on Thursday.

During the hearing, NEDA Undersecretary Krystal Lyn Uy said their initial computation would show around P10 billion difference between the two modes of amending the 1987 Constitution.

Under Section XVII of the 1987 Constitution, any amendment or revision to the Constitution may be proposed by Congress upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members (con-ass), through con-con, or people's initiative.

"It will be significantly lower," Uy said when asked how much  will the government spend if the 1987 Constitution will be amended through con-ass.

"I don't have the figures for a con-ass right now because we are still finalizing the computation but malaki ho 'yung discrepancy kasi so far, there are initial computation(s) even that, malaki ang discrepancy parang more than P10 billion 'yung difference from a con-con to con-ass. So we will expect that it will be significantly reduced," she added.

For con-con, Uy said their initial estimate is around P28 billion.

However, Uy said they are refining their computations after the House of Representatives passed on second reading a new Resolution of Both Houses. This, she said, might lower the cost for con-con to P14 billion.

Uy said the cost will be around P331 million if the con-con will be done simultaneously with a national or barangay elections and P30 million for con-ass.

Senator Robin Padilla, who presided over the first hearing on Resolution of Both Houses No. 3 which he filed to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, is pushing for con-ass.

The House of Representatives, however, is pushing for a con-con.

Early this week, Padilla said he is open to revising the Constitution via con-con if the public says so.

At the same hearing, Julain Payne, who represented seven foreign chambers of commerce, said they are pushing for the deletion of all economic  provisions in the 1987 Constitution.

"Our position is quite simple. We believe, in fact, the best position will be to delete the economic provisions, all of them, from the Constitution and reset this to laws approved by Congress," Payne said.

In order for the Philippines to encourage more foreign direct investments, Payne said it must choose the "most flexible means" to respond to changes of technology, in foreign investment, investors' expectations, and to respond to international competition which other countries are currently doing.

"If that is not possible, that is basically taken in the resolutions that you should add 'unless otherwise provided by law' to each and every one of the economic provisions," he said.—KBK/AOL, GMA Integrated News