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Cha-cha talks in 2023? Yes please, says this congressman

Cha-cha talks in 2023? Yes please, says this congressman

Cha-cha talks in 2023? Yes please, says this congressman

Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte has made a case for Charter Change discussions in the House of Representatives—yes, Cha-cha again–this 2023.

Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte (Facebook)

“We welcome the decision of the House leadership to put on the fast lane, along with the remaining priority bills drawn up by the Congress and President [Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’] Marcos [Jr.] last October, separate proposals to at last reform the 1987 Constitution,” Villafuerte said over the weekend.

Just before the House began its five-week recess last Dec. 17, the Committee on Constitutional Amendments chaired by Cagayan de Oro 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez held a preliminary meeting wherein the panel chairman bared plans to start marathon hearings on Jan. 26 on several pending bills on Cha-cha.

The congressional break will end Monday, Jan. 23.

“It’s about time to introduce changes to the antiquated and inapt provisions of our 1987 Charter, which has long been crying for reforms,” said Villafuerte, who is president of the National Unity Party (NUP) and majority leader of the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).

The Bicolano filed last year House Bill (HB) No. 4926, which seeks to task a duly-elected Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) to study, in a year’s time, possible amendments and revisions to the existing Charter.

“The clamor for Charter Change has always been relevant,” said Villafuerte in the bill.

“However, calls for genuine constitutional reforms have taken a backseat because of perceived controversies and allegations of corruption in previous administrations.”

He further noted: “Filipinos, meanwhile, take severe punishment from corruption, high prices, inequitable distribution of income, and a lopsided playing field when it comes to foreign investments.”

“Thus, while it is a given that the present Charter needs to go through the process of amendment and/or revision, this should be done with much deliberation and in a transparent and trustworthy atmosphere,” Villafuerte said.

For Villafuerte, the Constitution’s “inward-looking, overly protective” provisions on the economy are “believed responsible for handcuffing the Philippines from becoming an investment haven despite its pre-pandemic rise as one of Asia’s economic star”.

He said that in the realm of economic reforms, “The Philippines has won international investment-grade ratings and acclaimed as a rising economic star in recent years, but such accolades have not attracted the impressive level of foreign direct investments (FDIs) going to, say, Vietnam or Thailand, because of our restrictive constitutional provisions that limit foreigners to a maximum 40 percent participation in certain local businesses that are attractive to foreign investors.”

“Solid proof that the 40% cap on foreign ownership has been the perennial deal-breaker for prospective overseas investors are the latest official investment data pointing to declining FDIs (foreign direct investments) and investment pledges,” Villafuerte said.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), FDI net inflows fell to $$6.7 billion in the first nine months of 2022, or about a tenth lower than the $7.5 billion booked in the same January-September period in 2021.

Last September, FDI net inflows posted a 7.9% drop to $626 million from the year-ago’s $626 million.

As for approved investment pledges registered with investment promotion agencies (IPAs), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the total for 2022’s third quarter slipped 22 percent to P13.05 billion from P16.82 billion over the July-September 2021 period.




2023-01-23 00:17:00



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