June 25, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

House leader warns Senate time running out fast on economic Charter reform

DEPUTY Speaker and Quezon Rep. David “Jayjay” Suarez on Tuesday warned senators that time is fast running out for Congress to finish acting on proposed amendments to the Constitution’s restrictive economic provisions.

“When it comes to efficiency and productivity, undoubtedly, unquestionable ang House of Representatives diyan. Ngayon, sa bahagi ng Senado you know it’s a mix signals (on finishing Charter reform),” Suarez told a news conference.

Suarez said while Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri spoke of a “before the Holy Week break” timeline, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, who chairs a Senate subcommittee conducting hearings on proposed economic amendments, mentioned a possible October timetable.

“Tapos may mga ibang senators na nagsasabi na huwag daw mamadaliin, so we really can’t hold on to a definitive timeline when it comes to how soon the Senate can act on RBH 6, that is why I am asking…what is their timeline,” he said.

Suarez was referring to Senate Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 authored by Zubiri, Angara and Sen. Loren Legarda.

It is entitled, “A Resolution “A Resolution of Both Houses of Congress proposing amendments to certain provisions of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, particularly on Articles Xll, XlV and XVl.”

Suarez said the Philippines is lagging behind its neighbors in terms of attracting foreign investments. 

“The numbers speak for itself. The Philippines is now eight from the last of ten countries. So how long we have to wait before we realize that there is so much work to be done para maipasa natin itong RBH 6?” he asked. 

He said after the House and the Senate come up with proposed amendments, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will have to submit these to the people for ratification in a plebiscite.

“Then after we have a plebiscite, we are going to operationalize the laws, and I am telling you aabutin tayo ng mid-term election (in 2025). At pagkatapos ‘nun, may bagong set of congressmen… baka ma-operationalized natin ito masyadong nasa dulo na ng term ni PBBM,” he said. 

“That is why ang panawagan ko sa Senado, we are very consistent since January…do your work and do your work fast. Time is not on our side and neither other countries in the world, and the businesses, and the investors, they are not gonna wait for the Philippines. We need to make sure the gates are open for them to come in,” he said.

For his part, Isabela 6th District Rep. Faustino Dy V echoed the need and urgency of finishing the proposed economic Charter reforms.

“May pagkakataon tayo na amyendahan – kung ipapasa po ito ng Senado – ang ating Constitution. Kasi kung titingnan nyo po, nakakalungkot nga din talaga when people compare our country with our neighboring countries – cost of transportation, cost of electricity natin, telecoms natin, cost of services, the brunt of these burden (is borne by) the Filipino people,” he said.

“Sila po yung naapektuhan dahil hindi natin magawan ng solusyon. Although of course our country is progressing, developing but to reach another point of development, we really need to amend the Constitution,” Dy said.

Dy is a member of the Young Guns bloc in the House, which includes Reps. Zia Alonto Adiong of Lanao del Sur, Francisco Paolo Ortega V of La Union, and Jefferson Khonghun of Zambales.

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, the four young scions of political families professed their love for senators but reminded them that love is a two-way street.

They appealed to their colleagues in the Senate to observe parliamentary courtesy, avoid demeaning and insulting remarks, and extend respect to their counterparts in the House.

According to them, they have to defend the Speaker and their institution from the harsh remarks of certain senators, naming in particular Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva.

Villanueva, a former party-list congressman, has reportedly said that one cannot compare senators, who are nationally elected, and House members, who are voted by district and party-list group.