Instead of Charter change, the Duterte Administration’s chief economic manager has suggested that the lawmakers may consider the further opening up of the local economy to foreign investments.
While Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III did not categorically state that he is not in favor of overhauling the 1987 Constitution, the official noted that he is “really” for the relaxation of restrictive economic provisions.
“I am for really opening up our economy in all areas possible, with the exception of land ownership,” Dominguez said during the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) virtual meeting.
Dominguez believes that it is “doable” to amend “as much as possible” the economic provisions of the Constitution as long as it will not involve land ownership, which he described as a “so emotional” topic.
“Let’s do something doable. Let’s open up the economy, like retail trade… things like the construction business. There are loads of areas that need to be opened,” Domingue said.
According to Dominguez, there are also “ridiculous” restrictions under the present system that limit the country’s attractiveness to investors.
“I just found out that we have a quota on importing goats. Now, how stupid is that? How stupid is a quota for imported goat?” The finance official pondered. “You have to go through this whole rigmarole with the Department of Agriculture to import a single goat.” “I’d say we should look at the Constitution and open as much as possible,” he added.
Earlier, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) cautioned lawmakers on the proposed move to amend the Constitution, noting that the government should instead focus on economic recovery and building resilience against natural and man-made disasters.
PCCI President Benedicto V. Yujuico said the government should prioritize bills that will support the country’s strong recovery
These include the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, which is one step away from being enacted into law, and the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery Act.