Europe-PH News

Euro Chamber Backs Congress Move to Amend Constitution

November 22, 2011

Paolo Romero

The head of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines praised leaders of Congress for working on constitutional reforms but lamented that President Aquino was not prioritizing amending the 1987 Constitution that could boost the country's economic standing.

Hubert d' Aboville, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) issued the statement at the start of the meeting of the Joint Foreign Chambers and Philippine business groups at the House of Representatives led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

"We are grateful, Mr. Speaker, that you are pushing amendments of certain provisions of the Constitution.  While the Senate President (Juan Ponce Enrile) appears to be on the same course, President Aquino keeps on saying that this is not on his priority list," d' Aboville said.

He said many business groups are fully supportive of the initiatives of Congress to open up the economy and encourage more business investments in the country.

Earlier, Belmonte and Enrile announced that both chambers would work on proposing and approving amendments to the Constitution but only on its economic provisions.

The congressional leaders said the restrictive economic provisions have been hampering the influx of foreign investments in the past decades.  There are several pending bills in the Senate and the House of Representatives on Charter change.

D' Aboville said foreign business chambers will continue to work with Congress in backing nine legislative measures on governance.

"We look forward to a mutually-beneficial dialogue, being aware that 'arangkada (acceleration) is needed to get legislation finalized and implemented.  We are also aware that elections in 2013 will affect the legislation process sometime in the latter part of 2012," d' Aboville said.

Belmonte thanked the ECCP for its cooperation with Congress in helping the economy grow.

"I am pleased to note that most of your recommended priority measures are already included in the official priority list of the House," he said.

"Notably, almost all of your recommendations already have corresponding bills.  And the good news is that our shared legislative priorities are already in advanced stages in the legislative mill, with many on third reading," the Speaker said.

He said the House and the Senate have firmed up their list of common priority measures, identifying 64 bills that needed to be approved by the 15th Congress.


Source: The Philippine Star; Business; 23 November 2011

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