Not at this time

Not at this time

The initiative is supposed to make the country more attractive to investors. Yet 10 of the biggest business groups in the country issued a statement last week, opposing the latest effort at the House of Representatives to amend the Constitution at this time. Instead the business groups want Congress to focus on pending measures to deal with the public health crisis and revive the economy.

While stressing that they support initiatives to liberalize the restrictive economic provisions in the 1987 Charter to enhance national competitiveness, the groups said “we are strongly opposed to any initiative at this time to amend the Constitution.”

The groups are the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Filipina CEO Circle, Investment House Association of the Philippines, Judicial Reform Initiative, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Retailers Association, Philippine Women’s Economic Network and Women’s Business Council Philippines.

Charter change at this time, the groups said, “will be highly divisive,” derailing efforts to be “totally united” in the national effort to confront the COVID pandemic. Cha-cha, they pointed out, could be pursued in the first year of the term of those who will win in the 2022 general elections. Analysts have pointed out that because of the complexity of amending any part of the Constitution, the best time to initiate Cha-cha through any mode is at the start of a new administration.

The groups are urging Congress to instead focus on legislative measures, such as amendments to the Public Service Act, as well as bills to provide economic stimulus amid the continuing pandemic. With only a year and a half left in the 18th Congress, there’s still a lot of work ahead that can be done to promote economic recovery, without the distraction and divisiveness arising from Cha-cha.