Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez claimed that the Makati Business Club (MBC) and the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) have walked back on their support for amending the 1987 Constitution. This needs context.
Rodriguez was reacting to a March 24 joint statement issued by six big business organizations, including the MBC and FINEX, opposing the moves at the House of Representatives for a constitutional convention (Con-con) to introduce amendments to the economic provisions of the Charter.
In a statement on March 26, Rodriguez said:
“MBC and Finex are now against Charter amendments. Before this position, they were in favor of changing the Constitution’s economic provisions.”
The MBC and FINEX did not explicitly say they are against amending the economic provisions of the Constitution. However, they opposed the mode preferred by the House to introduce amendments, emphasizing the high cost of constituting a Con-con and the timing to do it.
The cost of setting up a Con-con, which the National Economic and Development Authority had estimated at P14 to P28 billion, “can be better used on agriculture to address the high inflation, transportation to enable Filipinos to get to work and home in much less time, and needed social services like health, education, and social security,” they said in the joint statement with Filipina CEO Circle, Justice Reform Initiative, Philippine Women’s Economic Network, Inc. and Women Business Council Philippines.
The business groups described having a Con-con to amend the Constitution as a “potentially disruptive proposal at a time when the country may be poised to regain its economic momentum.”
“Investors look for stability when making investment decisions. The possibly lengthy and fractious process of amending the Constitution may make investors take a wait and see attitude for an extended period of time and therefore derail the impact of the reforms.”
Source: Makati Business Club, Joint Statement on Proposed Constitutional Convention, March 24, 2023
The business groups acknowledged that recently enacted laws – such as the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investment Act – have addressed provisions in the Constitution that impede trade, investment, innovation, competition, and economic and job growth.
The House of Representatives approved on March 6 Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 with a vote of 301 in favor, 6 against and one abstention. It calls for the convening of a Constitutional convention (Con-con) to introduce amendments to the economic provisions of the charter. Eight days later, the House approved House Bill No. 7352, an enabling measure for RBH No. 6 that provides the procedure for the establishment of a Con-con.The Senate has yet to approve RBH No. 6 and its implementing bill.
Four senators – Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay and Risa Hontiveros – have expressed their opposition to Charter change at this time, stating that it might derail the focus of Congress in addressing problems in the agriculture, health and labor sectors.
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Makati Business Club, About Us, Accessed April 3, 2023
Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, History, Accessed April 3, 2023
Rep. Rufus Rodriguez Statement
CNN Philippines, House leader: Charter change to cost ₱9.5 billion, Feb. 22, 2023
Inquirer.net, Charter change via con-con a ‘disservice’ to Filipinos, says Enrile, March 22, 2023
Makati Business Club, Joint Statement on Proposed Constitutional Convention, March 24, 2023
Official Gazette of the Philippines, Public Service Act, March 21, 2022
Official Gazette of the Philippines, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Dec. 10, 2021
Official Gazette of the Philippines, Foreign Investment Act, March 2, 2022
Malaya Business Insight, Con-ass cheaper than con-con as Charter change mode – NEDA, March 3, 2023
House on RBH No. 6
- CNN Philippines, House OKs resolution calling for con-con on final reading, March 6, 2023
- ANC 24/7 Youtube Channel, Voting 301-6-1, PH House OKs resolution calling for economic reforms through con-con | ANC, March 6, 2023
- Inquirer.net, House OKs reso calling for Con-con to amend 1987 Constitution on third reading, March 6, 2023
House on H.B. 7352
Senators’ stance on Cha-Cha
- Inquirer.net, How senators are dancing, or not, to the first Cha-cha under Marcos, March 28, 2023
- Senate of the Philippines, Pimentel questions timing of Cha-cha, raises inclusion of foreign ownership of land in Cha-cha, March 27, 2023
- ANC 24/7, Legarda says ‘not in favor’ of Cha-cha at this time | ANC, March 1, 2023
- Senate of the Philippines, Reaction of Sen. Nancy Binay on the following issues of the day, Feb. 9, 2023
- Senate of the Philippines, STATEMENT OF SENATOR RISA HONTIVEROS ON PROPOSED CHARTER CHANGE, Feb. 15, 2023
Zubiri on Cha-Cha
- ABS-CBN News, House set to approve ‘con-con’ bill; Zubiri says not a Senate priority, March 9, 2023
- Manila Bulletin, Zubiri: Con-Con will derail passage of 10 LEDAC bills, March 11, 2023
- Inquirer.net, Zubiri clarifies: Charter change stand remains, open to discuss bid with House, March 20, 2023
President Bongbong Marcos on Cha-Cha
Manila Bulletin, Marcos: Charter change not a priority, Feb. 13, 2023