Now is the time to end 36 years of poverty by easing the 1987 Constitution's limitations on Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), Senator Robinhood "Robin" C. Padilla said Thursday, March 2.
Padilla stressed this at the start of the public hearing by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes on amending the economic provisions of the Charter in Davao City.
"Our country is blessed with natural resources and skilled workers that can contribute greatly to our progress. But we need huge investments to harness these assets properly and we cannot do this because of the limitations of our Constitution," he said.
"When will we start moving? When? When? So my dear countrymen, let's start the discussion and listen to the resource persons. This hearing aims to benefit ordinary Filipinos and make sure our Constitution's economic provisions benefit them and not just 20% of the population," he added.
Padilla said easing the Charter's economic provisions is the only solution he sees to attract direct foreign investments (FDIs).
He added that the Philippines has been "kulelat" (languishing) in terms of foreign direct investments, citing Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas figures showing FDI in the Philippines dropped by 25 percent from 2018 to 2020.
He also pointed out that as the country recovers from the effects of the Covid pandemic, it needs new "drivers of growth" including opening the economy to FDIs.
"Meron tayong basehan, hindi ito isang political grandstanding. Ito po ay tunay na pangangailangan ng ating bansa, itong panukalang ito na ating amyendahan ang economic provision sa ating Saligang Batas (There is basis for seeking such amendments; this is not political grandstanding. This is addressing a real need of our country by amending our Constitution's economic provisions)," he added.
"Minabuti natin unahin ang economic provisions dahil ito ang maaring agarang makatulong sa mamamayan pagdating sa usaping kawalan ng trabaho, kagutuman at kahirapan (We are moving to prioritize amending our economic provisions because this will help address the most pressing needs such as joblessness, hunger and poverty)," he added.