ConCom OKs Proposal to Lift Restriction

Article excerpt

Byline: Rico C. Navarro

Members of the Constitutional Commission (ConCom), voting 18-2, approved yesterday the proposal to remove restrictions on the exploitation of natural resources of the country by foreigners.

The recommendation was made by ConCom Commissioner Rene B. Azurin during the resumption yesterday of the committee hearing of the consultative body tasked to amend the 1987 Constitution.

Azurin's proposal triggered a lengthy debate as some of the commissioners questioned the recommendation allowing the entry of foreigners to tap the country's land and mineral resources, the same privilege being enjoyed by Filipinos.

Commissioner Gonzalo M. Jurado endorsed the proposal of Azurin that there will be no discrimination in the exploitation of the country's natural resources.

Commissioner Efraim Tendero, who opposed the proposal, said there should be some safeguards so that Filipinos would not be prejudiced.

Azurin also recommended the removal of the limitations on the length of time and the size of the specifications on the area of coverage and "allow such lease of alienable lands of public domain to anything that might be agreed by private investors."

Azurin said that under Section 4 of his proposal, "the President, instead of Congress, shall have the authority, upon the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. …