Trade bloc backs move to ease Charter restrictions
Top economists and sociopolitical analysts of Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) are backing a resolution filed by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. that will ease the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution.
Legislators are now deliberating the proposed measure.
The House Speaker is “firmly pursuing [the] measure amidst threat of possible derailment brought by sudden changes in the political atmosphere and calls for political [Charter Change],” FEF said in a statement issued Tuesday.
According to FEF, it is high time that the country amends the Constitution as the economy continues to be in an upswing, registering growth of 6.4 percent in the second quarter of 2014.
But growth has not translated into employment, the group added.
“As we have often said, more investments mean more jobs,” it explained.
The Philippines, the group noted, has a low domestic savings rate but this can be augmented by foreign investments.
“It is the firm belief of the Foundation that opening up the economy to foreign investors and allowing more freedom in investments and flow of factors of production will lead to more economic activity that will benefit all. Moreover, entry of foreign investments in strategic industries that are highly technical and require high capitalization is a win-win scenario,” the statement said.
Foreign investments are expected to provide competition and break monopolies of existing market giants and increase consumer welfare through better service delivery and more choices.
“Enough with the negative propaganda of foreign investors owning our land,” FEF said, noting that the intent of the Belmonte resolution was not to remove outright the restrictive economic provisions.
The insertion of the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in certain sections of the Constitution means that the provisions are flexible, not fixed, and may be further defined by laws that will need to be legislated in Congress, the group said.
The country can still define the sharing and extent of ownership, it added.
FEF is chaired by former Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo, with former Finance Undersecretary Romeo Bernardo as vice chair and Calixto Chikiamco as president. Economist Gerardo Sicat and former Prime Minister Cesar Virata sit as advisers, while trustees include Ernest Leung, Thomas Allen, Art Corpuz, Felipe Medalla, Vaughn Montes, Gary Olivar, Simon Paterno, Gloria Tan-Climaco and Francis Varela.
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