Economic Cha-cha to boost PH’s investment appeal, says solons
MANILA, Philippines — Amending the 1987 Constitution’s economic provisions — if fulfilled — would send a signal to the rest of the world that the Philippines is ready and flexible for investments, two members of the House of Representatives said on Monday.
Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, in a press briefing claimed that there will be helpful immediate and long-term effects if the country eases restrictive economic provisions, especially since the Philippines is currently a hard-sell due to limits in foreign ownership.
“Opening our economy is a way of signaling to the world that we are a flexible economy — that’s the problem of our restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution, we are inflexible in their eyes,” Quimbo told reporters.
“So if investors think we are inflexible, we need to address this and fix it. So by doing that, it’s a clear signal that now, the new Philippines is not like what it was before, and soon capital would arrive. And what evidence do we have? It happened in the energy sector,” she added.
Quimbo said being a hard-sell requires the President and his economic team to visit other countries and religiously attend investment summits, because the world thinks the Philippines does not have a clear stand on economic liberalization.
Salceda meanwhile believes the impact of amending the 1987 Constitution can be felt immediately, because it would increase the demand for stocks at the stock market — and therefore increase the price of each share for many companies.
“In the stock market you can feel that immediately, that’s a huge signal indicating that the economy is open. As of now if you look at the stock market, it seems dead because the shares there are owned by Filipinos,” he explained.
“But if you say that the shares there can be bought by foreigners, prices would spike, you can see that. So there is an immediate, there’s an intermediate, as well as long-term impact, but the immediate impact will be in the stock market,” he added.
Quimbo said one proof of economic changes bringing in investments can be seen in the amendments to the Public Service Act (PSA), which she said brought in huge funding to the energy industry.
However, the Marikina lawmaker noted that while telecommunications was included in the list of utilities that are open to foreign investment, it was also placed under the category of critical infrastructure, which means it is subject to a 60-40 ownership share with only the lesser value open to foreign firms.