Charter change not needed to get foreign investments – Marcos
TOKYO, Japan — The Philippines can get foreign investments without amending the Constitution, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Sunday afternoon during his flight back from Japan to Manila.
“It’s not a priority for me because there are many things that need to be done… there are so many other things that we need to do first,” Marcos said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino.
“We can get what we want, but within the present… the way the Constitution is written,” he added.
The president has just ended a five-day official visit here, during which he tried to win Japanese businesses’ investment pledges.
Several lawmakers in the House of Representatives are seeking to amend what they called restrictive economic provisions, particularly on the issue of foreign ownership, in the Constitution.
Currently, the Constitution prohibits a foreign company or individual from owning the majority share in a Philippine-based company.
“I think the attempt is, the reason that it’s being talked about is because of the economic provisions. We want to get investments. Sometimes those get in the way. You all know the issues there — ownership, appropriation, ownership of a corporation, ownership of land,” Marcos said.
“But for me, all of these things we are talking about can be achieved without replacing the Constitution,” he added.
Contradicting cousin’s stand?
Marcos’ stand appears to contradict that of his cousin, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who previously said that amending the Constitution would be the last piece of the puzzle of the Philippines’ economic growth.
So it seems too that progressive groups and activists, like Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares, have an ally in Marcos. Colmenares believes that successful Asian countries like Taiwan and Singapore did not rely on foreign direct investments (FDI) to usher in progress.
During a hearing at the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments last Jan. 26, Colmenares said that corruption and dire poverty did not come from the Constitution.
The 1987 Constitution was crafted by the convention created after Marcos’ father and namesake, then-President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was ousted from office.
Over the years, there have been calls to amend it for various reasons — like supposed glaring errors, failure to prevent political dynasties, and vague provisions on amendments.
According to former Supreme Court justice Vicente Mendoza, the Constitution must be changed urgently as the country runs the risk of having a chaotic society.
This is not the first time that Marcos spoke against charter change. Before winning the 2022 presidential race, he said that a federal system would fit the Philippines better, but amending the Constitution under the current setup would be difficult.
Even when he was a senator in 2018, Marcos also raised several questions about changing the Constitution, saying that discussion about it should not be rushed.
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Federal gov’t system fits PH but Cha-cha ‘difficult’ – Marcos Jr.
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