Swift Progress Expected for Constitutional Amendments Resolution RBH 7

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The chairman of the House panel working on a resolution to amend economic provisions of the Constitution expressed optimism that it would be approved before Congress goes on its Holy Week break this month. Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, stated that he was confident in the leadership of Speaker Martin Romualdez and believed that Resolution of Both Houses 7 (RBH 7) would receive the necessary three-fourths votes of the House at the plenary before the Holy Week break on March 23.

RBH 7, along with RBH 6 filed at the Senate, aims to amend certain economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution. Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. had previously announced that the House would hold three hearings weekly and strive to obtain a vote before the Holy Week break.

Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers highlighted that there would be sufficient time for the public to study the proposed changes to the Constitution if the plebiscite is held simultaneously with the 2025 elections. Similarly, House Deputy Majority Leader and Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin emphasized that there was ample time for extensive and exhaustive discussions on the proposed amendments through the plenary sessions and different platforms.

The House Committee of the Whole commenced deliberations on RBH 7 on Monday. However, the Makabayan bloc of lawmakers, composed of ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel, expressed opposition to the efforts to amend the Constitution’s economic provisions, stating that they believed it was not the right time.

RBH 6 and RBH 7 seek the same amendments, specifically in Article XII (Section 11), Article XIV (paragraph 2 of Section 4), and Article XVI (paragraph 2 of Section 11). Both resolutions propose adding the words “unless otherwise provided by law” to these provisions. Additionally, both RBHs aim to add the word “basic” before the words “educational institutions” in the first sentence of paragraph 2, Section 4 of Article XIV.

Once an approved committee report is obtained, it will be sent by the House Committee of the Whole to the House plenary for voting on the resolution. Meanwhile, the Senate has already begun its deliberations on RBH 6. Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia assured that the poll body was prepared for a plebiscite, whether it is held simultaneously with the 2025 elections or separately.

In the Senate, more technical-vocational and education experts have been invited to share their views on the proposed constitutional amendments. Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on RBH 6, announced that the panel would resume its public hearing on the proposal to amend restrictive provisions of the Constitution. He mentioned that the session would focus on higher education and include resource persons from the technical vocation and private education sector.

However, Sen. Francis Joseph Escudero cautioned his fellow senators against proceeding with hearings on RBH 6 without clear guidelines contained in the Rules of the Senate. He noted that unlike the House of Representatives, the Rules of the Senate do not have a specific section on procedures for constitutional amendments.

As progress is made in amending the economic provisions of the Constitution, the House and Senate continue their deliberations and discussions. With the support of key leaders and the involvement of experts, it is hoped that a consensus can be reached to address the necessary amendments and ensure the economic growth and development of the country.

Source: The Manila Times

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