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Cha-cha untimely amid pandemic: PCCI

Lawmakers should focus on passing bills that will help in economic recovery and building the country’s resiliency rather than amending the Constitution, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said yesterday.

“PCCI is cautious at the timing and manner by which the Constitution is being proposed to be amended,” the business group said in a statement.

Last week, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., said the Charter change (Cha-cha) discussions should focus on amending restrictive economic provisions in line with the directive of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

PCCI president Benedicto Yujuico said that while the initiative for Cha-cha aims to lift certain restrictions in the economy, there are pending bills that can push for economic liberalization.

Among these bills that should be prioritized include the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery Act, and the Public Service Act.

“While it may be the fastest option, inserting the provision ‘unless otherwise provided by law’ in sections of the Constitution that limit foreign equity to 40 percent in business ventures that are considered of critical interest to the Filipino people, could potentially weaken the country’s highest law by making it easier for ordinary legislation to amend the Constitution,” Yujuico said.

He added the PCCI supports the lawmakers’ initiatives to further open the economy to enhance the country’s competitive position globally, attract more foreign investors to set up and expand their businesses here, addressing monopolistic and uncompetitive behaviors, and under-investments in some sectors critical to public interest. “But this should be done in a deliberate and careful manner that will continue to make the Constitution withstand various economic interests but especially the test of time,” Yujuico said.*PNA

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