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108 solons sign proposal lifting land ownership ban

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] September 15, 2008

A proposal seeking to lift stringent constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership of alienable public and private lands has swiftly gained the support of 108 congressmen who signed up as co-authors of the measure.

House Speaker Prospero C. Nograles, principal author of House Resolution (HR) No. 737, aired confidence that 72 more House members will back the proposal to complete the required vote for the passage of the proposed Charter amendment in the chamber.

Nograles said co-authors of the measure believe that the move will bring in more job-generating investments in the country.

Nograles said he is aiming to secure the signature of three-fourths of the members of the House of Representatives which he hopes would clarify differing interpretations on how to amend certain provisions of the Constitution.

"There are schools of thought that Congress can actually amend specific provisions of the Constitution without going through the process of Charter change by way of the various methods provided under the Constitution. This has been one of the arguments of those who had opposed past efforts to amend the Constitution so we want to find out if this can be done," Nograles said.

HR 737 calls for the amendment of Sections 2 and 3, Article 12 of the Constitution "to allow the acquisition by foreign corporations and associations and the transfer or conveyance thereto, of alienable public and private lands."

Nograles said that while a mere resolution, even if approved by the majority members of the House of Representatives, does not have the effect of law, it can still serve as the basis of raising a point of Constitutional inquiry before the Supreme Court (SC).

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