Baguio City

Northern Luzon groups voice concern over proposed charter change phrase insertion

Sherwin de Vera

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Northern Luzon groups voice concern over proposed charter change phrase insertion

BAGUIO HEARING. Senators Sonny Angara, Loreno Legarda, and Bato dela Rosa consult with stakeholders from Northern Luzon in Baguio City to address concerns and gather recommendations on the proposed amendment to the economic provisions of the Constitution.

Sherwin De Vera/Rappler

Apprehensions are raised in Baguio about the phrase 'unless otherwise provided by law' in the proposed charter change, allowing Congress to adjust ownership requirements

BAGUIO, Philippines – Academics and lawyers in Northern Luzon expressed concerns about a proposed amendment to the 1987 Constitution, seeking to insert a phrase in the provisions concerning public utilities, education, and advertising.

Proponents want to insert the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in these constitutional provisions to allow Congress to make adjustments on ownership requirements. 

The apprehensions were raised during a hearing on Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6 in Baguio City on Friday, May 17, led by Senator Sonny Angara. With Angara, chairman of the RBH No. 6 subcommittee, were senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Loren Legarda, Ronald dela Rosa, and Christopher Lawrence Go. 

The proposal seeks to amend the charter, particularly the restrictions on foreign investments in public utilities, basic education, and advertising, through a Constitutional Convention (Concon).

“We are worried about the phrase ‘unless otherwise provided by law’… because it may lead to a situation in which no law may now be declared unconstitutional because of the phrase,” said Renato Rondez, dean of the College of Law of the University of Cordilleras.

Section 11 of Article 12 of the 1987 Constitution limits foreign participation in the governing bodies of public utility enterprises to their capital share, which is 40% under current laws. It also requires that all executives and managers of public utility firms be Filipino citizens.

Under Article 14 Section 4(2), educational institutions, except those established by religious groups, must be owned by Filipino citizens or by corporations with at least 60% capitalization from Filipinos, including control and administration.

Meanwhile, Article 16 Section 11(2) mandates that corporations in the advertising industry have at least 70% Filipino ownership. It also limits foreign participation in the governing board to their capital share.

Rondez said inserting the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” would undermine the principle of constitutional supremacy. 

The Pangasinan State University (PSU)-Bayambang Campus has released a position paper, rejecting the insertion of the phrase, saying it was “very broad in meaning.” 

“Such phrase is full of deception unless the laws to be passed will benefit most of the Filipinos not only few individuals,” said Dr. Gudelia Samson, PSU-Bayambang campus executive director.

Samson said allowing schools to be fully owned by foreigners would not even address the current education crisis which, she said, was caused by decades of insufficient public funding for education. 

She warned that the proposal, if approved, would likely worsen the commercialization of the educational system.  

Samson said the government should instead build more classrooms, increase teachers’ salaries, reduce class sizes, provide instructional materials, and buy textbooks for every subject for all students. 

The academic institutions found an ally in Kalinga Governor James Edduba, who cautioned that schools should remain under Filipino control as they help provide citizens a “moral foundation.”

“I think it should remain with us and not be changed,” he said.

A March survey by Pulse Asia noted a drastic drop in support for charter change, with only 8% favoring the move compared to 41% in the same month in 2023. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!