House panel drops foreign ownership of land in Cha-Cha resolution
by MARA CEPEDA
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez had advised lawmakers against allowing foreign ownership of land, an 'emotional' issue for Filipinos
A House committee agreed to strike out from their charter change (Cha-Cha) resolution the proposed amendment that would have allowed foreigners to own land in the Philippines.
On Tuesday, February 2, the House committee on constitutional amendments deleted this provision just before they approved Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2, which is designed to allow Congress to tinker with the current restrictions on foreign investors by way of legislation.
The committee gave their nod to economic Cha-Cha on the same day the country commemorated the 34th anniversary of the 1987 Constitution’s ratification.
It was panel vice chair and Iloilo 3rd District Representative Lorenz Defensor who moved to drop RBH 2’s original proposal to add the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to Section 7, Article XII of the charter.
The provision currently states that “no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of public domain.”
Had the committee agreed to pass RBH 2 as is, then adding the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” would have essentially empowered Congress to pass a bill allowing foreign ownership of land in the Philippines.