PROTEST Police officers are on standby as groups allied with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan stage a protest in front of the House of Representatives in Quezon City on Monday to condemn what they call an “interested” Charter change initiative promoted by the chamber’s leaders. — File photo by GRIG C.MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines – Pressure for amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution must continue even as a recent poll showed that a large percentage of Filipinos do not support measures seeking a change in the Charter, said the congressman of Cagayan de Oro's 2nd district , Rufus Rodriguez, on Thursday.

According to Rodriguez, it may be unpopular now, but many government officials and business leaders believe that easing economic restrictions would benefit the country.

“The national leadership, starting with President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr., believes that changing the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution would benefit the country as it would result in the inflow of more foreign investment,” he said.

The legislator heads the constitutional amendments committee of the Chamber of Deputies.

“The right decisions are not always popular,” he added in a statement.

Rodriguez was referring to a recent Pulse Asia survey on Charter change, where 88 percent of 1,200 respondents said the 1987 Constitution should not be changed at this time.

Only 8 percent agreed with calls to change the Constitution.

READ: Pulse Asia: Most Filipinos Don't Think Now Is the Right Time for Cha-cha

On March 20, the Chamber approved in third reading the Resolution of Both Chambers (RBH) No. 7, which seeks to amend the 1987 Constitution, easing the restrictive economic provisions.

READ: Chamber approves RBH 7 in third reading

If no changes are made by the House and Senate, and if they are ratified in a plebiscite, three provisions would be changed with the addition of the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law:”

Section 11 of Article XII (Patrimony and National Economy), where the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” is inserted into the provision prohibiting foreign ownership of a public service, except in the case where 60 percent of the total capital belongs to Filipino citizens;

Section 4 of Article 60 percent of the total capital is owned by Filipino citizens;

Section 11 of Article XVI (General Provisions), where the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” is inserted in two parts: First, the provision prohibiting foreign ownership in the advertising industry, except in the case where 70 percent of the total capital belongs to Philippine citizens; and in the provision that limits the participation of foreign investors in entities to the value of their participation in the capital.

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This means that Congress, if RBH nº 7 is ratified, will be able to decide the percentage of foreign participation in companies in the public services, basic education and advertising sectors.