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Padilla releases draft report on measure seeking Cha-cha via con-ass

Senator Robin Padilla on Friday released a draft copy of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes' report on the measure seeking to reform the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution via constituent assembly (con-ass).

The committee proposed that the Senate and the House of Representatives amend Sections 2, 3, 7, 10 and 11 of Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, as well as Section 4(2) of Article XIV and Section 11(1) and (2) of Article XVI, via con-ass by a vote of three-fourths of all its members, with each chamber voting separately.

The proposed amendments include:

  • The State may undertake exploration, development and utilization of natural resources or may enter into co-production, joint venture or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations at least 60% of whose capital is owned by such citizens, unless provided by law.
  • Private corporations may not hold alienable lands of the public domain except by lease for at most 25 years, renewable for not more than 25 years, and not to exceed 1,000 hectares, unless otherwise provided by law.
  • Congress may, by law, solely for the purpose of foreign direct investment allow aliens to acquire private lands not exceeding 1,000 square meters in area; and foreign-owned corporations to acquire rural private lands not exceeding five hectares in area.
  • Upon recommendation of the economic and planning agency, and when the national interest dictates, Congress shall reserve certain areas of investment to citizens of the Philippines or, unless otherwise provided by law, to corporations at least 60% of whose capital is owned by such citizens.
  • No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations organized under the laws of the Philippines at least 60% of whose capital is owned by such citizens, unless otherwise provided by law.
  • The participation of foreign investors in the governing body of any public utility enterprise shall be limited to their proportionate share in its capital and all the executive and managing officers of such corporation or association must be citizens of the Philippines, unless otherwise provided by law.
  • Educational institutions other than those established by religious groups and mission boards shall be owned solely by Philippine citizens while the control and administration of educational institutions shall be vested in Philippine citizens, unless otherwise provided by law.
  • Ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to Philippine citizens and only Filipino citizens or corporations at least 70-percent owned by Filipinos shall be allowed to engage in the advertising industry, unless otherwise provided by law.

“To accelerate economic growth and fulfill its international commitment, the Philippines must amend its Constitution by removing restrictive economic provisions to allow foreign businesses to directly invest in a more conducive landscape,” the report read.

“The amendment to the Constitution is to allow higher foreign investment or capital in various economic activities that would generate jobs for the people, induce higher wages, improve performance of service sectors and reduce cost of goods and services through economic competition, which are evident benefits gaines by other countries that have eased restriction on [Foreign Direct Investment],” it further stated.

Padilla said he expects fellow PDP-Laban members — Senators Francis Tolentino, Bong Go, and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa — to sign the report.

He said he also expects Senator Sherwin Gatchalian to sign the draft report as the latter also filed a resolution seeking to amend the Charter via con-ass.

In order for the report to be sponsored in the plenary, Padilla would need the signatures of more than half of the 16 members of the committee. —Hana Bordey/KBK, GMA Integrated News