Below is one statement calling for charter change.
FEF Statement of Support to the move of Speaker Belmonte to amend the economic provisions of the PH Constitution
STATEMENT BY THE FOUNDATION FOR ECONOMIC FREEDOM
February 3. 2014
We, the Foundation for Economic Freedom, support the move by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution to include the phrase “unless provided by law” to the foreign ownership restrictions in the Constitution in public utilities, land, mass media and advertising, educational institutions, and development of natural resources.
We believe that vesting on Congress, rather than the Constitution, the power to determine the restrictions in foreign ownership will send a strong signal to foreign investors that the government will level the playing field by opening up the economy as conditions permit.
We believe that opening up the economy to foreign investors is necessary to increase Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the country, which remain one of the lowest in the ASEAN.
Poverty and hunger levels have remained unchanged despite the country’s 7.2% economic growth. To attain “inclusive growth,” the country must boost investments by liberalizing foreign ownership rules in order to generate employment and reduce poverty.
The country also risks being left out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an economic grouping of nations intended to boost trade and investments among member countries, if it does not amend the restrictive provisions in the Constitution and give foreign investors equal treatment as local investors.
Opening up the economy to more foreign investors, especially in strategic industries where foreigners are presently prohibited from owning a majority, will help improve competition, increase consumer welfare, lower prices, raise productivity, and generate technology transfer.
While the Constitutional amendment will not immediately liberalize the economy, it will provide an evolutionary path to making the necessary changes as needed. The Belmonte proposal represents a practical political solution that provides the “key” to opening up the economy.
We urge President Aquino to reconsider his stand about not amending the Constitution and allow Congress to pass the Belmonte bill in time for a national referendum in 2016. The millions of poor and unemployed are looking up to his government to live up to his promise of inclusive growth.