Foreign investors still supportive of economic Cha-cha

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

FOREIGN investors remain supportive of a resolution seeking to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution despite moves by some lawmakers to include in the discussions the political amendments.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that the support of Joint Foreign Chambers and Philippine Business Groups to the economic Charter Change (Cha-cha) remained intact.

He said that business community still supports his Cha-cha proposal through the Resolution of Both House (RBH) 1, which are primarily intended to ease restrictions on foreign ownership.


"I'm sure they only concerned with the economic provisions," Belmonte said. "Certainly we want to focus [the amendments on economic [provisions]. It will get very complicated if you mix this with politics."

The proposal filed by Belmonte and Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, seeks to amend economic provisions on the 60-40 rule that limits foreign ownership of certain activities in the Philippines.

The resolution will include the phrase "unless provided by law" in the foreign-ownership provision of the Constitution, particularly land ownership, public utilities, natural resources, media and advertising industries.

Under Article XII of the Constitution, foreign investors are prohibited to own more than 40 percent of real properties and businesses, while they are totally restricted to exploit natural resources and own any company in the media industry.

The amendments to the Charter will be approved through separate votings by the both Chambers, with a three-fourths or 218 vote required from them.

Earlier, Makati Business Club (MBC) Chairman Ramon Del Rosario Jr. is pushing for Constitutional amendments, particularly the economic provisions to attract foreign direct investments as the unemployment rate in the country is increasing.

Del Rosario Jr., during the House of Representatives meeting with the Joint Foreign Chamber of Commerce and Philippine business groups, said the government should consider changes in the provisions of the Constitution that restrict complete foreign ownership of estates and corporations.

Moreover, Belmonte said that he will not allow any member of the Congress to insert any provision other than what is specified in his resolution.

"I won't allow such [political] amendments," Belmonte said.

Belmonte, who is the vice president of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) also reiterated that his resolution are purely for the economic provisions.

"The economic provisions are in the plenary, we should proceed already," he added.

Earlier, Caloocan City Representative Edgar Erice said that he is planning to introduce political amendments to the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for President Benigno Aquino III to run for another six-year term in the 2016 presidential race. (Sunnex)

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