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Charter Change In The Philippines

There is a debate in the Philippines to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution. The proponents in the Charter Change debate (nicknamed "Cha-Cha" by Filipinos) argue that economic provisions in the Constitution, such as the ban on foreign ownership of land or corporations, can get in the way of attracting foreign investments.

Critics of the proposed Constitution changes say that several major laws have already been passed to address limitations on foreign investments, such as the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investment Act, and notably, the Public Service Act of 2022, which categorized telecommunications, railways, expressways, airports, and shipping industries as public services which can be 100-percent foreign-owned.

Critics also worry that due to some ambiguities in the language of the proponents' proposals, any convention to amend the Constitution has the power to amend the entire constitution. This would make vulnerable the parts of the 1987 Constitution that are intended to act as a check and balance to the centralization of power that occured during the elder Marcos dictatorship, such as term limits.

These critics worry that political dynasties, which is an ongoing problem in the Philippines, would take advantage of the constitution convention and increase their already strong political power.

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