VIEW FROM CALUMPANG: Diego Cagahastian

Cost-benefit study needed --Libanan

Mar 31, 2023, 12:10 AM
Diego S. Cagahastian

Diego S. Cagahastian


ALTHOUGH the House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading the bill on Charter Change, the measure is still to be deliberated by the Senate when the senators return to work.

The bill on constitutional amendments has a small chance of passing the Senate, although Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri has told House Speaker Martin Romualdez that he will keep an "open mind" to the move--principally pushed by Sen. Robin Padilla, to revise the economic provisions of the charter, purportedly the hindrance that snag the growth of Philippine economy.

"SP Migz personally assured me that he will keep an open mind on the move by the House of Representatives to institute economic reforms through constitutional amendments," said the Speaker and also Leyte 1st district congressman.

"I trust that other senators will continue to join SP Migz in keeping their mind open on amending restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution," Romualdez added.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Rep. Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan wants the government’s budget and economic planners to perform a “cost-benefit analysis” of amending the 1987 Constitution for the purpose of relaxing foreign investment restrictions.

“If we really want to tweak the economic provisions of the Constitution to draw in more foreign investors, then we would need a baseline comparison of cost and benefit,” Libanan said.

“This is the most sensible approach – for us to ascertain whether the benefits outweigh the costs,” Libanan said.

Libanan called on the National Economic and Development Authority to submit to Congress a detailed report on the projected benefits in terms of foreign direct investments that would come in per industry, the number of new jobs that would be created, and the incremental tax revenues that would be generated.

On the cost side, Libanan urged the Department of Budget and Management to come up with reliable estimates.

In the final analysis, the cost of changing the charter will hinge on what mode the lawmakers would want to tweak the fundamental law of the land.

It it therefore important that the government adopts Minority Leader Libanan's suggestion on conducting a formal cost-benefit study.

Incidentally, both Romualdez and Libanan are solons from Region 8.

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