SURIGAO del Norte del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Wednesday said he is willing to play the role of the House of Representatives’ emissary to the Senate leadership amid the continuing word war between the two chambers on constitutional economic amendments.
Barbers had this to say in a press briefing wherein he underscored the need to “sit down and talk” with fellow lawmakers from the Senate.
“Yes, oo. Willing ako. Kailangan naman talaga mapag-usapan ito dahil hindi naman lingid sa kaalaman ng mga senador at mga kongresista na isang ano ‘to, isang pamamaraan para ma-resolve na itong impasse na ito,’ he said.
“Kailangang mag-usap, kailangan nating umupo, kailangan nating pag-usapan ito,” stressed Barbers, a senior stalwart of the Nacionalista Party (NP) in the House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives and the Senate–the two co-equal branches of the bicameral legislature–have been butting heads over how to carry out much-needed constitutional revision, if at all.
The House’s stance is that the antiquated economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution must be amended in order to allow more foreign direct investments (FDI) into the country. The senators, on the other hand, have been viewed as against economic amendments due to their alleged fear of poltical amendments.
Barbers insisted that economic amendments to the Constitution is both justified and urgent.
“I’m sure everybody will agree na kailangan talaga nating silipin, pag-aralan, at amyendahan itong restrictive economic provisions ng ating Saligang Batas. We want to be globally competitive. Nauunahan na tayo ng ating mga kapitbahay…this will affect the lives of the Filipino people,” he said.
“Just imagine the opportunity lost na napunta sa Vietnam instead sa Pilipinas. Yung pagtatayo lang ng mga kumpanya na sana nakapag-empleyo ng ating mga kababayang Pilipino, nawala eh, Sayang eh,” lamented Barbers.
“Naunahan tayo ng Vietnam. Ang nasa likod natin ngayon ay Myanmar. Wag na nating hintaying maunahan pa tayo ng Myanmar,” he said.