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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau



11 June 2021 04:17:24 PM

In an online forum on foreign direct investments and the economic amendments of the 1987 Constitution held Friday , economic and business experts cited the need to lure more FDI into the country as well as pursue the economic amendments of the Constitution, which is contained in Resolution of Both Houses Number 2 recently approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives. The forum entitled “Opening the Economy for Recovery: Mitigating the Covid-19 Impact on Small Businesses” is the third in a series of economic fora organized by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). In his presentation, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda , Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means and a principal sponsor of RBH 2, said five of the Top 10 barriers to foreign direct investments in the country are hardcoded in the Constitution. These are 1) foreign ownership restrictions in the law, 2) obligatory screening and approval procedures, 3) constraints on the ability of foreign nationals to work, 4) stipulations on management, such as regulations that nationals or residents must form a majority of the board of directors, and 5) nationality-based restrictions on operations. Salceda explained that RBH 2 seeks to convene both Houses of Congress as a Connstitutent Assembly, and requires that both obtain three-fourths, voting separately, to adopt the resolution. RBH 2 seeks to ease restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution to encourage the inflow of more FDIs and capital into the country. Principally authored by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, RBH 2 proposes to insert the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to certain sections of the Constitution that restrict foreign ownership of public utilities, educational institutions, media, and advertising companies. These are found in Articles XII (National Economy and Patrimony), XIV (Education, Science, Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports), as well as XVI (General Provisions). Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary for Plans, Public Affairs, and Communication Jonathan Malaya said fears that economic charter change would start a dictatorship, term extension of officials, as well as changes being forced by the administration in our country, are all unfounded. “When the final copy of Resolution of Both Houses Number 2 came out from Congress, maliwanag po doon sa approved version on third and final reading na wala ni isang political provision dito. Ibig pong sabihin, the members of Congress stood up to the challenge of everyone, including the Senate, na hindi haluan ng pulitika itong pagbabago ng ating Saligang Batas, especially in time of pandemic,” Malaya said. He cited the need to create a common understanding of the objectives and purposes of economic charter change . “Kaya nag organiza ang DILG ng sunod sunod na forum na ito , na may iba’t ibang participants at topics in relation to economic charter change dahil napakahalaga ng pag amyendang ito not only for the short term recovery but most importantly for the long term recovery of our country,” he said. Meanwhile, Dr. Thomas Aquino, Chairman of REID (Research, Education and Institutional Development) Foundation said opening up the economy implies strengthening of the country’s competitiveness. Other resource persons were Prof. Dr. Stefan Jost, Country Director of KAS; Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Dominic Tolentino Jr., who represented DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez; and Sandra Marie Recolizado, Board of Investments Director for Investments Policy and Policy and Planning Service.