Ex-NSA Clarita Carlos backs charter change

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 6) -- Former National Security Adviser and political science professor Clarita Carlos expressed support for charter change during the Marcos administration, saying it's time for economic provisions to be amended to attract more foreign investments.

At the hearing of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments Monday, Carlos said holding a constitutional convention would help ease public doubts about charter change.

"This is our belief: If we pay attention to the articles of the Constitution that has something to do with the restrictions, we put to the inflow of foreign direct investment, then that will generate a lot of things downstream and upstream," Carlos said.

"I say let's do it now. Sabi nga sa UP, kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?" she added.

Carlos, a member of the House's Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD), however, noted that a constitutional convention would be costlier compared to convening Congress into a constituent assembly, or con ass, to propose amendments.

"If you want to play to public perception and public perception is premium, then the public perception is that con ass, there's a trust issue there, to be charitable about it. And therefore, there is less of a trust issue if you do it the other way, which is constitutional convention, but it would cost you a lot of zeroes,"

However, civil society groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Pamalakaya maintained that charter change is unnecessary and that fisherfolk and farmers could lose their livelihoods if restrictions on foreign land and business ownership are eased.

KMP Chairman Rafael Mariano said foreign ownership could also threaten food security while Pamalakaya said opening Philippine waters to foreigners could cause severe overfishing.

Simultaneous with the committee hearing, over a dozen members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Bayan Muna and Anakpawis staged a protest against charter change outside Batasang Pambansa.

At least 11 bills and resolutions have been filed in the 19th Congress relating to charter change.