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Constitutional limitations go against the reforms for liberalization

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On Wednesday, the head of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments claimed that the 1987 Constitution’s existing economic constraints have negated the structural changes made to further liberalize the Philippine economy.

Representative Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City stated in his sponsorship speech for Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 that despite the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Foreign Investment Act, and Public Service Act amendments being passed under the previous administration, the reality is that constitutional restrictions run counter to the goals of these laws.

Rodriguez argued that the adjustments are insufficient, supporting his claim with statements and position papers from the business community during the open consultations.

“The Constitution should be regarded as the fundamental law of the land, and all other laws should be interpreted in accordance with it rather than the other way around. Therefore, not unless and until the constitutional constraints are lifted, the apprehensions and reticence on the side of the investors will inevitably persist, “added he.

He emphasized the significant limitations placed on the movement of foreign capital in particular economic activities in the 1987 Constitution.

“Despite the fact that Filipino residents are given priority under the restrictions on foreign ownership, it should be emphasized that the nation severely lacks the necessary funding to strengthen our economy and utilize our natural resources. In order to promote the free flow of capital throughout the nation and open the door to increased global competitiveness, it is imperative that these restrictions be loosened “said he.

The third-most restrictive in the world and the most so in the Association of Southeast Asian States, according to him, the Philippine Constitution needs to be reviewed (ASEAN).

Rodriguez used a 2020 graph from the OECD and said that the Philippines had the most stringent restrictions on foreign equity capital, which are established in the Constitution.

“The Philippines’ FDI (foreign direct investment) Regulation restrictiveness limits the flow of much-needed international investments,” he added. “Despite the efforts of Congress to solve the unfavorable economic circumstances of our country.”

According to him, implementing a more liberal policy will boost the nation’s capital, business productivity, government revenue, imports, exports, and the pace of growth of the gross domestic product.

On the justification for holding a constitutional convention, he claimed that it would be “more transparent, more democratic, and less divisive” to modify the Constitution in this way.

Each legislative district in the nation will send one delegate to the constitutional convention.

“It is crucial that constitutional amendments are carried out in a transparent manner with broad public engagement. The new Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines should be really representative of the values and aspirations of the Filipino country, and not simply of a chosen few, in accordance with the sovereign mandate of the people “said he.

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