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Monday, June 24, 2024

Zubiri hints at ‘very encouraging’ developments on Charter Change talks in the Senate

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Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Friday said they only need two more votes to amend the three restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution in the upper chamber.

But when asked if it means 16 senators are now in favor of Charter Change (Cha-Cha), Zubiri clarified he sees 15 or 16 senators are supporting Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6, which allows 100-percent foreign ownership on public utilities, education and advertising.

At present, the 1987 Constitution limits foreign ownership in these sectors to only 30 percent.

RBH No. 6 needs three quarters of votes from the Senate or 18 out of the 24 senators before it could be submitted to a bicameral conference, and eventually, to a plebiscite for people’s approval.

In a media briefing, Zubiri described as “very encouraging” the Senate subcommittee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes’ hearing in Baguio City this Friday, May 17, on the issue.

“Majority or almost 95 percent here are in favor of lifting the economic provisions of the Constitution. Some want protection to be given to the local industries together with local labor,” Zubiri said.

The Senate President assured that once it passes into law, they will put conditions to protect our local industries and local labor.

After the upcoming scheduled regional hearings on Cha-Cha in Cebu and Cagayan De Oro City, Zubiri said they will finish the committee report.

He is confident they will get a majority to sign the report of Senate subcommittee chairperson Juan Edgardo Angara.

But in the meantime, Zubiri said they need to lobby and convince the opposing senators that these amendments will be good for our country.

“I know that Senator Angara is up to this task… He is a very good lawmaker, being a good lawyer and communicator. He will give good explanations to our colleagues,” noted the Senate leader.

Zubiri likewise underscored the need to convince the public because this matter is very unpopular.

He admitted this will entail a long process since they want to explain and inculcate in the minds of our people the gains from amending these restrictive economic provisions.

Reiterating that RBH No. 6 is not political, Zubiri assured the amendments would be limited only to economic aspects. 

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