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House body defers Cha-Cha report

house body defers cha cha report 816x445 - House body defers Cha-Cha report

A HOUSE body has deferred a committee report on proposed changes to the 1987 Constitution as it considers other proposals on federalism.

“We hold in abeyance the approved committee report on the four proposed amendments to be able to consider the proposals of the inter-agency task force on federalism and constitutional amendments,“ Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez said at a hearing on Tuesday.

A task force created to propose changes to the 1987 Constitution earlier sought to remove economic restrictions in the Charter, including the ban on foreign investment in some industries.

Opening the Philippine economy to foreigners would create jobs and lift more people out of poverty, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Constitutional Reform said last month.

The Philippines is at the bottom of Southeast Asian countries in terms of foreign direct investment, and President Rodrigo R. Duterte wants to change this by changing the constitution the task force said.

The Finance department wants to eliminate all references to citizenship restrictions with respect to industries such as mass media and advertising, educational institutions, practice of professions, natural resources, mineral wealth and public utilities.

The task force, however, wants to retain the prohibition on foreigners to own land.

The agency earlier said at least 256 local chief executives have expressed their support for Mr. Duterte’s push to change the 1987 Charter. The task force also obtained 22,469 signatures from various citizens who support charter change.

The task force has submitted its second set of proposed changes to the Charter to the House constitutional amendments committee. It wants to strengthen political parties, ban turncoats and political dynasties as part of charter change.

The task force said the anti-political dynasty provision of the 1987 Constitution should be made self-executing. It also wants to create a democracy fund for campaign finance reforms, and extend the terms of local government officials to five years with one re-election.

The second set of proposed changes cover political and electoral reforms to strengthen democracy and improve governance. It also seeks to introduce equality provisions to ensure more funds flow to the provinces.

Mr. Duterte created the task force, which is headed by the Interior and Local Government secretary, and is composed of 15 government agencies.

Mr. Rodriguez said task force wanted to brief all congressmen about their proposed constitutional amendments. The meeting was set for Feb. 4, he said. — Genshen L. Espedido

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