Economic Cha-cha ‘not a free pass’ for all foreign investments — solon
MANILA, Philippines — The proposed economic amendments to the 1987 Constitution will not serve as a “free pass” to all foreign investments in the country, Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo said.
Quimbo made the assurance to address concerns that the proposed amendments would allow for the unregulated influx of foreign capital that would threaten local industries.
“The proposal under RBH2 (Resolution of Both Houses No. 2) is not a free pass for all foreign investments to come in,” Quimbo said in a statement.
Under RBH2, the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” would be added to the constitutional restrictions that limit the participation of foreign investors in the governing body of entities based on their proportionate share in the capital.
The same phrase would likewise be added to provisions saying only Filipino citizens can control, own, and/or lease public utilities, educational institutions, mass media companies, and advertising companies in the country.
Quimbo, who voted on the affirmative on the adoption of RBH2 in the House committee on constitutional amendments, said that the measure is necessary for the country to have the flexibility to respond to inevitable changes in world economic conditions.
“If the Constitution holds important economic structures such as control over capital, access to resources, barriers to entry as fixed, we will be left behind. Talagang maiiwan tayo sa pansitan kung hindi natin buksan ang ating pintuan,” Quimbo said.
Quimbo explained that the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” is “both liberating and serves as a protection clause.”
“That is the brilliance of it—it provides flexibility but still allows the legislature to address the fear of some of our countrymen that we will be inundated with foreign business leaving the local industry to wither away,” Quimbo said.
The House panel adopted the resolution even as critics questioned its timing especially as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. Critics likewise feared that the proposed charter change will include political provisions such as term extension for lawmakers.
However, House panel on constitutional amendments chairperson Alfredo Garbin Jr. has repeatedly assured that the proposed charter change will only cover the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
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