Legarda encourages people to voice out opinions on RBH 6

May 18, 2024

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda today underscored the importance of participation from all sectors regarding proposed amendments to certain economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution.


As the Upper Chamber heads to different parts of the country to hear the local stakeholders’ take on the hot-button provisions on public utilities, education, and advertising, Legarda said it is paramount for everybody to voice out their opinion to hammer out pieces of legislation that would be beneficial to most, if not all.


“You don’t have to agree because we really want to know the truth and the pulse of the people. If you agree, well and good. But if you don’t agree, we welcome that and we want to know why,” Legarda said during the hearing of Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6 in Baguio.


“We may be wrong. We may be including the wrong industries or the wrong sectors. There may be sensitivities in certain regions where it need not be liberalized, the ownership of certain sectors,” she added.


“So, huwag po kayong mahiya magsabi ng dissenting opinyon. We would want to hear that and be enlightened.”


Legarda, along with Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senators Sonny Angara, Bato dela Rosa, and Bong Go headed to the Summer Capital to talk with various local government unit heads, members of the academe, and the private sector.


In previous pronouncements, Legarda, one of the authors of RBH 6, along with Zubiri and Angara, underscored the importance of accurate and careful reviewing of the proposed amendments to the 1987 Philippine Constitution.”


Legarda also alleviated fear of backlash to those looking to voice out adverse opinions.


“The Regional Directors, we understand your position. You have to agree with Central Manila, even if deep in your heart, you may not agree,” told the lawmaker.


“So, for fear of perhaps losing your jobs or because you have to toe the line, so if there is anyone here, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, academic institutions, NGOs who may not agree because we authored this, di naman perpekto to, the process of legislation, it is far from perfect,” she said.


The four-term senator also clarified that the public utilities which are still subject to the 60-40 local-foreign ownership share as enshrined in the Constitution, include the distribution and transmission of electricity, petroleum and petroleum products, water pipeline distribution systems and wastewater pipeline systems, seaports, and public utility vehicles.


As to the proposed amendments affecting the educational institutions, Legarda cited Singapore and Indonesia being open to foreign ownership but subject to stringent restrictive frameworks. With the proposed amendment, educational institutions will not be subjected to foreign control and administration, unless otherwise provided by law where standards and strict restrictions will be imposed.(30)