LGUs must reform before Cha-cha

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Amendments in the Philippine Constitution would only succeed if the local government units (LGU) can muster sound policies for investors, a House leader said Monday.

House Deputy Majority Leader Magtanggol Gunigundo of Valenzuela made the call on Monday, considering that Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of Quezon City has widely expressed his sentiments in favor of Charter Change to amend the economic provisions of the Philippine Constitution.

Belmonte was particularly backing the tweaking of the 60-40 provision of the Constitution, which only allows foreigners to own 40 percent of a certain business entity in the country.

“While pushing for the amendments of these restrictive provisions, there should be a guarantee for the smooth implementation of these changes by LGUs to fully encourage investors. Changes in the economic provisions of the Constitution have good intentions, but it will be handicapped by LGUs that fail to streamline procedures,” Gunigundo pointed out.

The DILG, Gunigundo said, should expand its horizon rather than be confined with its police and peace and order functions.

The DILG has the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Local Government Academy, National Police Commission and Philippine Public Safety College.

Per Doing Business in Philippines Indicators, a conducive business environment can be fostered with streamlined issuance of business permits, building permits, transfer of real property and payment of real property taxes.

“Without the necessary LGU reforms, inflow of foreign investments would not reach forecast levels even if lawmakers succeed at changing economic constitutional provisions,” Gunigundo added.

House Deputy Majority Leader Romero Quimbo of Marikina, for his part, noted that while the debates on amending the Constitution should start sooner rather than later, it remains a long shot under the Aquino administration.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd is against Charter Change.

“He [President Aquino] wants no distractions to the bold reforms he is pursuing. He wants our energy on these reforms, considering that there are three years left,” Quimbo said in a separate text message.

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