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Thursday, November 30, 2023

‘Amend dated provisions in 1987 Charter’

Speaker Martin Romualdez underscored the need to amend the outdated and restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution to attract more foreign investments, create jobs, open income opportunities for our people, and spur development.

In his message during the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) Day Tuesday evening, Romualdez said amending the Charter’s restrictive economic provisions could redefine the country’s economic future.

“Our Constitution, as noble and well-intentioned as it is, has elements that are no longer adaptive to our needs,” said Romualdez, leader of the 311-member House of Representatives and president of Philconsa.

Romualdez cited the following provisions: Article XII, Section 10, mandating a 60-40 ownership in favor of Filipinos in the development of natural resources; Article XVI, Section 11, limiting mass media ownership exclusively to Filipino citizens; and Article XII, Section 11, capping foreign ownership of land.

“Amending these provisions isn’t just a matter of law—it’s about transforming the opportunities available to every Filipino. It’s about catalyzing a new era of prosperity, characterized by more robust economic growth, technological advancement, job creation, and ultimately, a better quality of life for each and every citizen,” he said.

Although these provisions were drafted with patriotic intentions, Romualdez said these regulations have unintended adverse consequences, such as limiting job creation, among others.

“Countries like Vietnam and Indonesia have been welcoming foreign direct investments with open arms and reaping substantial benefits, mainly through job creation. We, on the other hand, have missed out on these opportunities due to our stringent regulations,” he said.

He noted that according to the World Bank, Philippine FDI net inflows grew by an average of just 3.9 percent between 2010 and 2019, compared to that of Vietnam at 7.6 percent and Indonesia at 9.4 percent.

In addition he said the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report in 2019 placed the Philippines at the 64th spot out of 141 countries.

“These aren’t just numbers: They are indicators of lost opportunities,” Romualdez said.

“As a nation, we can ill afford to be prisoners of the past; we must be architects of our future. The call for change is both loud and clear, and the time to act is now. With your support, your advocacy, and your belief in a brighter tomorrow, we can take this monumental step forward,” he added.

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