DILG lauds Senate for setting public hearings on economic amendments

The Senate’s first public hearing on the proposed lifting of the protectionist provisions of the Constitution this Wednesday is a big leap to make the 1987 Constitution responsive to the current needs of the country, according to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Constitutional Reform (IATF-CORE) headed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The IATF-CORE lauded the Senate’s decision to tackle pending proposals to amend certain provisions in the 1987 Constitution as proposed by Senators Tolentino, de la Rosa, and Gordon.

“The start of public hearings in the Senate is an important step in revisiting the provisions of the Charter and make it more responsive to our current need which is to restart and boost the economy this year,” DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said.

“We thank Senate President Vicente Sotto, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, and our senators for calling for public hearings. We are prepared to make our case before the Committee and the public and explain to them why we need the amendments at this time,” said Malaya.

Malaya said that the hearings in both houses of Congress is sending a strong signal to the world that the Philippines is undertaking the necessary economic reforms to make the country more attractive to foreign investment.

He said that opening the economy to foreign investors would yield more jobs and funds for the treasury as well as strengthen foreign partnerships for economic growth and sustainability.

He said that the country needs more foreign investment as it reels from the effects of the global pandemic.

The UP Research and Extension Services Foundation-Regulatory Reform Support Program for National Development (UPPAF-RESPOND) found that easing the constitutional provisions that bar foreign ownership of certain industries would cut down unemployment by 40 percent to a rate of 5.1 percent from 8.7 percent recorded in October 2019.

“The new jobs will totally offset the annual job losses in domestic trade, finance, real estate and business services, and allow for significant job recovery rates in manufacturing (38 percent), construction (35 percent), other services including health and tourism (25 percent) and transport and storage (19 percent),” read the UP study.

Task Force CORE is pushing for the deletion of the restrictive economic provisions in the charter to allow foreign investors to engage in industrial and commercial activities that had been restricted to Filipinos.

Malaya said he is confident that the Senate would pass economic reforms for long-term economic recovery. On January 13, Task Force CORE submitted to Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., chairperson of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Constitutional Amendments, documents containing 555,610 signatures and LGU resolutions in support of lifting the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution.

The House committee has started its public hearings on the matter.