Aquino ally pushes for Charter change

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Incoming Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr files a Charter-change resolution seeking to amend provisions regarding foreign ownership

FRESH PUSH. Incoming Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr files a resolution for Charter change

MANILA, Philippines – As a new Congress opens, incoming Speaker and Quezon City Rep Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr starts another attempt to persuade President Benigno Aquino III to open his mind about Charter change.  

Belmonte, who is expected to retain his position as Speaker, filed on Tuesday, July 9 a resolution proposing changes in the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, particularly on the lifting of the 40-percent limit on foreign ownership of land and companies in the Philippines.

Belmonte wants to insert the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in certain provisions of Articles II, XII and XVI, which refer to ownership of land, natural resources and businesses. 

The move enjoys the backing of many in the business community.

READ: Corruption and the foreign ownership rule

In the 15th Congress, Belmonte and his then counterpart Juan Ponce-Enrile tried to convince Aquino to amend the Constitution but failed

Despite Aquino’s refusal to consider Charter change, Belmonte told reporters in an earlier interview that he feels “duty bound” to take it up again with the President. 

“Charter change is something that is dear to my heart but only with respect to the economic provisions that we have been talking about,” Belmonte said in an earlier interview. “I know the President has said he wasn’t in favor of it but I will continue to make representations with him and to talk to him about it.”

Earlier, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino, up to this point, does not see the need to relax restrictions on foreign ownership given the country’s good economic performance. –

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