Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Tuesday, February 14, said he agrees with the position of President Marcos that foreign investments could still trickle in without amending the Constitution but stressed the future need to revisit its political provisions to improve the country’s system of governance.
Pimentel said the President is correct to say that there are better things that need to be done first and that we could generate foreign investments without amending the Constitution.
“The proposal to change the economic provisions of the Constitution is not urgent at all as we have passed some economic liberalization laws,” Pimentel said.
The Senate fiscalizer cited these as the Public Service Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the Foreign Investment Act, among others.
However, Pimentel still believes that there is a need to revise the political provisions of the Constitution and reform the system of governance to, among others, reform the partylist system and provide more safeguards against political dynasty.
Pimentel said he has long advocated a shift in the country’s form of government to parliamentary with a unicameral system.
But Pimentel said “the long-standing proposal to reform the country’s political system can wait in favor of more pressing issues.”
“What is more urgent now is to alleviate the struggles of ordinary Filipinos. If we can help them improve their daily lives, then we give them better chances in participating in the growing economy,” the senator said.
Pimentel said the government should maximize the recently enacted economic laws that aim to boost the nation’s economic recovery.
“We have yet to fully realize the economic benefits of the amended Public Service Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the Foreign Investment Act. These are all directed to address the so-called restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution and to allow more foreign direct investments to come in the country,” he said.
Thus, Pimentel called on the executive to finalize immediately the implementing rules and regulations of the Public Service Act, saying it does not have to wait for the Supreme Court to decide on the pending case against the law.
Pimentel was the sponsor of the Retail Trade Liberalization Act during the previous Congress.
The veteran lawmaker said that the said economic laws were amended to specifically cater to the present needs of the nation – to stimulate the economy, welcome competition in business and create more jobs for the Filipinos.
“We should maximize the implementation of these economic laws first,” Pimentel said.
“Let us instead work as hard in getting closer to our collective dream of every Filipino enjoying a strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life,” he added.
Senator Robinhood C. Padilla, author of a resolution calling for the amendment of restrictive economic provisions of the Charter, lamented that there is still no Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Public Service Act though it was passed a year ago.’
"Kinukwestyon pa ng maraming nagrereklamo at sinasabi nila na unconstitutional ito (Many are questioning the constitutionality of the Act), Kung ikaw ba boss, investor ka, makita mo gusto ko mag-invest sa public utility na yan at nabalitaan,mo teka may nagkukuwestyon, magbibigay ka ng pera? (If you are the investor in public utilities, will you invest your money?)," he asked during a radio interview.
Padilla said other Southeast Asian nations are progressive because they have opened their doors for foreign direct investments (FDIs).
Unlike the Philippines which runs on debts, he said.