Rep. Luis Raymond Villafuerte urged the 22-strong Consultative Committee to lift the restrictions on foreign ownership of public utilities in the country, including the total ban on foreign ownership of mass media.
The ConCom, tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to review the 1987 Constitution and make recommendations to Congress on a new Charter that will pave the way for the shift in federal form of government, is set to deliberate on Constitutional provisions that will liberalize the economy.
The ConCom earlier agreed that under the new constitution, the federal government will still be headed by a president. It will also have a self-executing ban on political dynasties.
The 1987 Constitution limits foreign ownership of public utilities and educational institutions to 40 percent. Ownership of mass media, on the other hand, is limited to Filipinos. Likewise, foreigners are only allowed to engage in the advertising industry if they will only own 30 percent of it.
“The Constitutional provisions putting a 40 percent cap on foreign ownership and barring foreign participation in certain sectors such as the media have been a deal breaker for prospective foreign investors,” Villafuerte, Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Local Government, said in a statement.
He cited the Asean Investment Report 2017 which revealed that while the Philippines’ FDI increased by 40.7 percent at $7.9 billion in 2016, the figure is lower than Vietnam’s $12.6 billion, Malaysia’s $11.3 billion and Singapore’s $53.9 billion.
“Our protectionist economic policy is an anachronism. This is why [our]FDIs (Foreign Direct Investments) have remained relatively anemic despite the Philippines’ newfound investment-grade status as Asia’s bright star,” Villafuerte said.