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DoF supports further opening of economy

FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said he is open to amending the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, as House lawmakers began deliberations on Charter change.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua wants to further open the Philippine economy, but urges Congress to focus on the urgent passage of priority bills meant to attract more foreign investments.

“I’m for really opening up the economy in all areas possible, with the exceptions of land ownership because the issue of land ownership is so emotional… so let’s do something doable,” Dominguez said.

Among the sectors that should be further opened to foreign investors are the retail trade and construction industries, he said.

“There are many areas that need to be opened. Opening up the economy challenges the local production and they respond positively if there is good support. This is why I think we should look at the Constitution and open as much as possible,” Mr. Dominguez said.

The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments is set to open deliberations on the proposed Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2, which seeks to amend economic provisions of the 33-year-old Constitution in a bid to attract more foreign investments.

Chua said lawmakers should first prioritize pending bills such as amendments to the Public Service Act (PSA), Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTL), and Foreign Investment Act (FIA).

“We have to prioritize the PSA, RTL and FIA amendments as these are urgently needed to help attract more investments and create jobs,” Mr. Chua said via Viber on Monday.

Budget Assistant Secretary Rolando U. Toledo said that the economic team is pushing for the urgent passage of the three bills.

“These bills will help promote a more sustainable and resilient external sector, whilst increasing the inflow of foreign investments and generating more jobs for the Filipino people,” Toledo added.

The three bills have been approved on third and final reading at the House of Representatives.

Their counterpart measures in the Senate, however, are still in various levels of deliberations: with the bills amending the PSA and FIA still at the committee level while the proposed changes to the RTL are at the second reading.